Anthology, Amis & Ashworth

I got my contributer's copy of Spilling Ink Volume One in the post yesterday, and it looks damn fine. It's got my story, Rock A Bye, which you can read on the Spilling Ink Review website anyway - but if you have the requisite cash, the book is lovely and there's loads of excellent writing in there.

I spent much of Monday, all of this morning and half of this afternoon reading Martin Amis' The Pregnant Widow. Lately I've been busy catching up on a review backlog, so it was pretty sweet to be able to turn to the teetering stack of non-review titles in the corner of the bedroom and pluck one out - shame the one I chose was a long-winded rambling misogynistic piece of drivel. And I'm a fan of Amis - London Fields is amazing; Time's Arrow is brilliant; I didn't even mind Yellow Dog. But this - well, if I hadn't paid good money for a signed hardback edition, I'd have thrown it out the window sometime on Monday and not wasted a lovely sunny Wednesday forcing my way through the remaining three-quarters. I'm sure plenty of you will have loved the book, but man, it was a trial for me. The male characters obsess endlessly about sex; and who would have thought you could make sex so bloody dull? The female characters seemed to exist entirely to exemplify the male characters' sexual desires/needs/fears/neuroses. The sister character is based, I think, on Martin's own sister, but the tragedy of her existence seemed to be mostly that she was promiscuous - um, ain't that the lady's own choice, and not a Necessarily Bad Thing? It was all very, very tedious. Anyway. I'm not going to dwell on it long enough to analyse things. The book's finished, stacked away on the shelf, and I kind of feel like I'm on holidays now - like coming out of a stuffy exam into the fresh air. So I've eaten three bowls of Frosties and started on some Jonathan Safran Foer. Reading him, that is, not eating him. I should be writing the novel, but I'm going to blame advanced pregnancy for that particular instantiation of my usual lethargy.

Tomorrow evening, Jenn Ashworth's going to be reading and answering questions at Manchester's Martin Harris Centre. See you there?


Benjamin Judge said...

You are absolutely right about The Pregnant Widow. What on earth was he thinking?

I love Amis, but blimey that is not a good book.

Valerie O'Riordan said...

It's made me pretty reluctant to get the next one, too. Stupid Martin, alienating your consumers...