Saturday, 21 February 2009
Title: Time’s Arrow or The Nature of the Offence
Author: Martin Amis
Number of pages: 176
Started: 16 February 2009
Finished: 21 February 2009
"I moved forward, out of the blackest sleep, to find myself surrounded by doctors ... American doctors: I sensed their vigor, scarcely held in check, like the profusion of their body hair; and the forbidding touch of their forbidding hands -- doctor's hands, so strong, so clean, so aromatic. Although my paralysis was pretty well complete, I did find that I could move my eyes. At any rate, my eyes moved."
In Time's Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod's life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense.
What I thought:
This is a strange book. A readable but strange book. The basic thing that anyone who reads this book has to understand is that is it told with time going backwards. If you can’t get your head round this rather key piece of information this book will make absolutely no sense at all. So the main character is getting younger each day and when people come to see him (he is a doctor) they may start well and leave in agony. You start a conversation with goodbye and end with hello. You get the drift…
I can’t say I entirely warmed to this book, but it was an interesting read and premise. I also couldn’t quite get my head round if I thought the book going backwards was a good plot device or not, but it is certainly different.
The jury is still out on this book.