Adam Mars-Jones

Martian Robocop

Time’s Arrow

By Martin Amis

Jonathan Cape 160pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

In a recent Observer article, Martin Amis reported from a location shoot for the film RoboCop 2, a science-fiction fantasy about a policeman of the future, part human and part machine. It was a characteristic piece, both sombre and hyperactive, but for once this ironist missed an irony: baby-faced juggernaut violently opposed to violence, mysterious assembly of feeling and unfeeling parts, Martin Amis is himself the RoboCop of English letters.

In his new novel, Time’s Arrow, Amis’s stylistic armoury bristles as much as ever, but his purpose is disarming. He tells in strict reverse order, from death to birth, America to Europe, the life story of Tod Friendly (alias John Young, alias Hamilton de Souza, alias Odilo Unverdorben), a man who spent the war years as a doctor of torture at Auschwitz.

Subscribe to read the full article

KentState_Sept2016_online

University of Chicago Press

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • ‘Not everyone knows what it is to have your father’s rival’s penis inches from your nose’. Ian McEwan in a Nutshell ,
    • RT : I've got approx. 100 copies of from early 1990s-2000s to give away (most w/ covers).… ,
    • 'I Contain Multitudes is popular science writing at its best.' Wendy Moore is fascinated by a study on microbes ,
    • 'Costume of the life force? Words fail.' Germaine Greer on an ode to the condom ,
    • It's Write on Kew for the next four days. There are free copies of Literary Review about; why not dip your toe into the magazine?,
    • Which sci-fi author time-travelled to ancient Rome and lived a parallel life a persecuted Christian named Thomas? ,
    • You can pick up free copies of Literary Review at Write On Kew, which begins tomorrow. Fill your boots (with magazines).,