Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Pregnant Widow

Stratagems. Maybe Martin Amis will finally win the Booker prize. His new novel, The Pregnant Widow, set mostly in the summer of 1970, provides the sweep, language, imagery and character development of the quintessential English novel. Protagonist Keith Nearing has joined his girlfriend Lily in Italy for the summer, in the castle of her friend Scheherazade’s uncle Jorquil, the romantic target of another houseguest, Gloria Beautyman. A broader cast of engaging characters come and go, as the sexual revolution satisfies and teases Keith. He gets some of what he wants, more than he imagines, and then nothing at all. Throughout the summer, Keith is reading the English canon of great novels, as he plots stratagems to pursue his carnal interests. Through chapters set in the present and in-between, readers come to understand just how pivotal that summer was for Keith and others. Amis writes with great skill and fans of finely written literary novels are likely to appreciate the talent he displays here.

Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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