In a virtuosic return to form, Martin Amis revisits the sex-fueled material of his early career such as THE RACHEL PAPERS, DEAD BABIES, and SUCCESS. The political concerns of his recent writing have been, for the most part, jettisoned, and Amis's famously prodigal prose devotes itself instead to the specific human experience of coming-of-age in the sexually liberated era of the 1970s. The protagonist of the novel, Keith Nearing, is a 20-year-old literary soul aspiring to be a libertine during a summer vacation with a group of friends at an Italian castle. Despite the new freedom of the age and Keith's witty quips on literature and lust, sex is trickier in practice than in theory, and he finds his desires bent and twisted by the newly empowered bathing beauties tanning themselves poolside at the castle. In the novel's inspired coda, Amis fast-forwards through the decades after the ****** summer, and shows how the aftereffects of moral revolution rippled out through his characters' lives. An admittedly autobiographical work, THE PREGNANT WIDOW vividly captures the hedonistic fevers of youth in the post-pill, pre-AIDS world, and also depicts those who burned up in its ravishing heat. Keith is damaged by his experiences, but his sister Violet--a clear stand-in for Amis's own sister--dies from drink and dissolution. Comic, debauched, erudite, and ill-behaved--these are well-known early Amis traits, but THE PREGNANT WIDOW adds a melancholic wisdom to the mix, re-imagining the stories of his youth though the dark glass of time. Selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2010 Top 10 Book.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Conflicts + Dualities, Family + Friendship, Literary, Settings, Love + Relationships + Sex
- May 11, 2010
- May 11, 2010
- Martin Amis