House of Meetings is a tale of envy, conscience and
ethics set against the harsh backdrop of the gulag period, which has rarely been
novelized by English-speaking writers. It is narrated by a
hard-nosed old man, a survivor of the Gulag, in the form of an extended letter to his
step-daughter as he takes a rather grim cruise north to the labor camp
where he spent the longest ten years of his life, enduring extreme cold,
starvation and gang wars. The time period of the narration is
defined exactly as it is written during the 2004
school hostage crisis, which Amis uses to illustrate that the violence and
conflict of Russia's past is still effecting it today.
The narrator is one of life's survivors, he went away when he was 26 and was closing on 40 when he was released, but he has a knack for finding his feet and becomes a TV repairman, from which he ...
Martin Amis, son of writer Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim etc), was born
Martin Louis Amis in
Cardiff on August 25, 1949. He is the middle of three children (an older
brother Philip and younger sister, Sally, who died in 2000). His parents,
Hilary (Hilly) and Kingsley,
divorced when he was twelve.
He was educated in schools in Wales, England, Spain and the USA (while his father lectured at Princeton), and graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, with First Class Honours in English. His first novel, The Rachel Papers, was published in 1973 while he was working as an editorial assistant at the Times Literary Supplement. It won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1974.
His work has been heavily influenced by American fiction, especially by Philip Roth, John Updike and Saul Bellow, and also by Russian writers such as Vladimir Nabokov. He is considered to be one of the most ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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