There were conjugal visits in the slave camps of the USSR. Valiant women would travel continental distances, over weeks and months, in the hope of spending a night with their particular enemy of the people, in the House of Meetings. The consequences of these liaisons were almost invariably tragic.
House of Meetings is about one such liaison. It is a triangular romance: two brothers fall in love with the same girl, a 19-year-old Jewess, in Moscow, which is poised for massacre in the gap between the war and the death of Stalin. Both brothers are arrested, and their rivalry slowly complicates itself over a decade in the slave camp above the Arctic Circle.
“Vivid and scarifying.... The book gnaws at one’s memory. Amis tries to imagine history with the intimacy and specificity that the greatest historical novelists, including Tolstoy, have always presumed to seek for it.” (The Washington Post Book World)
"A[n] unrelenting and deeply affecting performance: A bullet train of a novel that barrels deep into the heart of darkness that was the Soviet gulag and takes the reader along on an unnerving journey into one of history’s most harrowing chapters.” (The New York Times)
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Martin Amis at the height of his powers; wonderous