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Experience

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If the trick is to work, the unreliable narrator must in fact be very reliable indeed: reliably partial, reliably unaware of his own egotism. He readily acknowledges the nepotism that got him published and widely reviewed at the age of twenty-one. Amis manages to construct his yarn through constant use of letters sent to his father, Kingsley, and stepmother Jane during the late teen and young adult era of his life, also his feelings and memories regarding the disappearance and murder of his cousin Lucy, his emotions regarding his eldest daughter Delilah Seale, and the superior event, the year 1995. The voice doesn’t help – that interminable transatlantic drawl with its considered hesitations and self-important emphases. is so desperate that at times you almost feel as if you are reading a mock-heroic satire on a novelist obsessed with his teeth.

Come un esperto equilibrista Amis si muove sul filo di un racconto esemplare: commovente e ironico, sobrio e vibrante insieme.

In all other respects, Blacker thought the book masterly: "In a deceptively cunning narrative weave, casting backwards and forwards from his childhood to his middle age, from his father's marriages to his own, he worries away at the polarities of innocence and experience, love and death.

But there seems almost nothing new here, and Amis' spin on what he presents seems so controlled and carefully dosed that more seems to be hidden than revealed.Though he is angry--mostly with the English media--the tone of the book is one of patient memorial and reconciliation, with most obviously Kingsley, and his own manifestations, but also with his "missing"--the cousin, Lucy Partington, a victim of Fred West's "prepotence", and the daughter, Delilah, by an earlier relationship. I suppose Forster is also on target and I should feel that Amis connected with me, the reader, though I'm not sure I welcome such. There is a great deal of informative stuff in Experience as well, and much of it is cleverly presented.

Furthermore, as the author makes clear in the preface, he is trying to focus on others rather than himself, so we end up with this odd affair where KA as a narrator remains somewhat unknowable (and certainly unexamined). non avendo ancora letto parla, ricordo di nabokov, e giusto per (non) tenermi alla larga dalle categorie assolute, mi sento di affermare con relativa certezza che questa è l’autobiografia meglio scritta che abbia mai letto. Parts of it do not quite succeed, particularly the sections dealing with the author's first cousin, Lucy Partington, who disappeared in 1973, and was later discovered to have been one of Frederick West's victim's - but then, how could such horror be written about successfully? Admittedly this was a major trauma, but surely other events from earlier on warrant similar coverage. Then, of course, there is the adored Saul Bellow (whose own struggles with a near-fatal illness also shook Amis in the late 1990s).

I am a fan of Amis, for sure, but even I wouldn’t necessarily recognize the man if I saw him out of context.

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