The Pequod Review:
Martin Amis's first novel is rough and crude — its subject is the sexual adventures of a bright but conceited teenager — but his prose is tremendously alive:
The thing is that I am a member of that sad, ever-dwindling minority... the child of an unbroken home. I have carried this albatross since the age of eleven, when I started at grammar school. Not a day would pass without somebody I knew turning out to be adopted or illegitimate, or to have mothers who were about to hare off with some bloke, or to have dead fathers and shabby stepfathers. What busy lives they led. How I envied their excuses for introspection, their ear-marked receptacles for every just antagonism and noble loyalty.
Like most people, I feel ambiguous guilt for my inferiors, ambiguous envy for my superiors, and mandatory low-spirits about the system itself.
The Oxford bus wasn't due to leave for another quarter of an hour, so I had another well-earned-half at the pub and chatted with the landlord and his wrecky wife, Mr and Mrs Bladderby. (Interestingly, Mrs Bladderby had an even wreckier mother, who was eighty and had, moreover, during a recent outing, got her left leg slurped into a dreadful piece of agricultural machinery; she was far too ga-ga to die of shock, had indeed never mentioned the fateful picnic since. Now Mrs Lockhart resided in the room above the saloon, clubbing the floor with a warped bar-billiards cue whenever she needed attention.) As Mrs Bladderby disappeared to answer just such a summons, Mr Bladderby wagged his head at my suitcases and asked whether I was off on holiday.
Read that last paragraph again. Wrecky, slurped and wagged his head. Amis's word choices consistently surprise and delight; he is one of our great modern stylists.