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By Gary Regan on 06-30-13
Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
The book is not only very clever (I'm sure lots when clear over my head), but the narrator is absolutely fabulous. He made the experience of listening to this masterpiece like true theater, never stepping out of character, no matter which character he was playing at the time
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Sand on 08-21-14
Big chewy novel, excellent narration
This was my first exposure to Martin Amis--I'd seen a couple of references by literary types who'd cited this as one of the top 50 or 100--or whatever--novels of the late 20th century.
For the close listener, this is definitely a very satisfying, dense work of fiction by a very talented and original writer. And for all its literary merits, it's a surprisingly entertaining and engaging listen.
Written in 1989 and set in 1999, parts of the book admittedly have a somewhat dated feel. The digressions on pornography and masturbation, for instance--which at the time of publication were still viewed as quite modern and "raw"--seem almost quaint by today's standards.
Yet other things, like Keith Talent's obsession with TV and video (and even his being featured in an early version of reality TV) are oddly prescient considering their pre-internet context.
But be prepared to rewind; Amis doesn't spell anything out, and there are enough soliloquies and extended rants (after all, this is 21+ hour download) for you to drift off and miss an essential character detail or plot point.
Fortunately for such a long book, the audio narration is unbelievably good. Pacey's American accent as the New York-born narrator Samson Young is almost flawless (think a smarter/sarcastic Regis Philbin) although he does give himself away with certain pronunciations (i.e., he pronounces urinal as "yurINEnal" instead of "YURinal", or calf as "koff" instead of "kaff"). But I have yet to hear an English narrator master a totally perfect American accent, so that's a pretty small quibble...
And it's worth having an English actor reading the novel because where he really shines is in his portrayal of East-ender Keith Talent. As such, this performance alone is worth the audio download, innit?
I just learned that a 2014 movie version of this is scheduled for release this fall. I have my doubts that a film adaptation could successfully capture the scope and appeal of the novel, but who knows?
5 of 5 people found this review helpful