Beneath the surface brilliance of a story that is both moving and hilarious, lies a serious exploration
of contemporary life and morality.
Gregory Riding and Terry Service, foster brothers who loathe each other, are the central characters in Martin Amis's pungent novel, originally published in 1978. For Gregory, London is a gilded galaxy, an endless whirl of smart parties, tony art galleries, and easy sexual conquests. Terry's life is altogether more squalid, marred by a history of nagging sexual failures and missed opportunities. Inexplicably, success suddenly smiles on Terry as Gregory plunges to subterranean depths. But it is Gregory's story that most engages the reader's sympathy.
In this unusual novel, Amis provides a verbal feast for connoisseurs of fine writing; the prose is at times dazzling. But beneath the surface brilliance lies a serious exploration of contemporary life and morals.
"Beautifully constructed to make a coherent, powerful and still fairly unusual statement about changing English society" Evening Standard "An instantly recognizable voice, penetrating, loquacious, slightly hysterical, upsetting, rising above the basso pseudo-profundo babble of his competitors like filed fingernails scraping down glass - Martin Amis is a dazzling phrasemaker" Sunday Times "Amis pulls off his literary feat with panache" -- James Buchan Spectator