Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Night Train, by Martin Amis Ask Nicola

From: Barbara Sanchez

I just read
Night Train by Martin Amis at K's recommendation on her blog. It blew me away for many reasons. For such a small book it packs a big punch. Why did you want her to read it?

I read Night Train when it first came out, just after I'd finished The Blue Place but before it was published. It was a really clear example of what a writer could do with the noir form--Amis really is very good--and what I didn't want to do, was glad I hadn't done, with The Blue Place.

Amis brings a fine and powerful focus, a driving energy, to the narrative. That's something I aimed for, too, in TBP--yet they're such different kinds of energy. Amis's character, Mike (female) is a blunt force; she grips you around the head and squeezes. Aud is more like a slicing wind. I wanted Kelley to read them both and tell me what she saw and thought and felt. But that was a very busy time in our lives, and it didn't happen.

But it did last month, so, hey, it all works out. And here, for your delectation and delight is an excerpt from a review of both books from City Pages, Minneapolis:

Resembling John Woo's movies, The Blue Place swims inside violence as in a lushly colored dream; it makes a polar opposite to Martin Amis's gaunt Night Train, which also stars a big-boned, quick-fisted woman cop. Amis's anti-heroine is clearly a man in disguise, weary of the cruel noirish milieu the author can't quite admit to creating. Griffith, meanwhile, writes Aud as convincingly female, because she would claim for women the entire spectrum of human behavior, including brutality and its sometime converse, rage.

It's been a long time since I read it NT. I do agree with the reviewer's idea that the narrative and tone of TBP is lush where NT is much more spare--gaunt is a good word--but I'm not sure I agree with her/his gender analysis. I'm not saying I disagree, I just don't remember the book well enough--apart from that pile driver narrative force--to have an opinion one way or the other.

It's a short book, and a very fast read. Definitely worth two hours of your life.

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