Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book 12: London Fields by Martin Amis

When paranoia shows up in your morning cup of coffee it might be time to reclassify it as precognition. And if each cigarette that you light delights you because it is a clear cut way to taste death, why shouldn't you wash it down with a pint of something strong?

Nicola Six is planning a murder. Her own. No, not a suicide. A murder. Who will do it? The family man or the darts thug? Our narrator, an American writer dying of some sort of cancer, is trying to find out. Or so he thinks.

Every tiny plot line in Martin Amis' masterpiece 'London Fields' is like some horror film version of those Russian dolls, each smaller doll contained in a slightly larger replica of itself, only these get bigger with each reveal instead of smaller and from the hollow body that seems so beautiful comes a disquieting sound, as if claws scratched, straining for escape, so that what started out as a sweet little plaything is now some monstrous prisoner.

The city of London is a character as well, the poisoned well all the characters must drink from, breathe in, move through.

The nihilism inherent in inciting someone else to murder you might seem like an impossible conceit, something intellectual to hang a plot on. But why should that be so? The scope of human trickery is so vast; why couldn't it contain such a dark conclusion?

It is difficult to admit the extremes of humanity. To truly appreciate a Mother Theresa one must also leave room for Pol Pot, Hitler, Dahmer. And if a Dahmer exists, is it so impossible to believe that some sad soul out there is searching for him, seeking out what they perceive to be their fate, hoping against hope that some day they will find themselves in his clutches?

'London Fields' forces us to a mirror, head twisting, neck straining, desperately wishing that we could UNSEE all we have seen. Can we trust ourselves in love when we have so often hurt each other? I am a member of a race that has systematically slaughtered itself with each ironic technological advance. Electricity? Aren't we geniuses? Let's kill someone with it.

This is who we are. We love. We kill. But who? Who will we love? Who will we kill?

Who will love US? And who will kill? Who?

Like I said at the top, what seems like paranoia is more like prophecy. Now pour me a cup of joe and light my smoke.

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