London Fields

18 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 22 hrs. AudioGO. 2010. ISBN 9780792772996. $99.95; digital download. F
Amis's ( darkly comic look at late 20th-century London and the despairing state of Western civilization was originally published in 1989 and is newly available on audio (the only other recording, on audiocassette, is no longer available). At the book's center are failed criminal/aspiring professional darts player Keith Talent; Guy Clinch, a rich, bored banker; Guy's son, Marmaduke, arguably the most horrendous infant in all of literature; Nicola Six, a party girl with a death wish; and the unreliable narrator, Sam Young, an American with writer's block. As these and assorted other colorful characters interact, Amis considers the not-always-fulfilled allures of love and fame. Adopting a gruff American accent, British actor Steven Pacey captures Sam's fascination with the characters' blunders and his barely concealed desire to manipulate their fates. This superb audio treatment of a great novel will appeal to those who enjoy serious fiction that attempts to encompass societal woes without being didactic. Darts fans may also be amused.—Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib.
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