• London Fields

  • By: Martin Amis
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 21 hrs and 47 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (179 ratings)

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London Fields  By  cover art

London Fields

By: Martin Amis
Narrated by: Steven Pacey
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Publisher's Summary

The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing who is intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and darts; or the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch. As Nicola leads her suitors towards the precipice, London--and, indeed, the whole world--seems to shamble after them in a corrosively funny novel of complexity and morality.

©1989 Martin Amis (P)2010 AudioGo

What listeners say about London Fields

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Big chewy novel, excellent narration

This was my first exposure to Martin Amis--I'd seen a couple of references by literary types who'd cited this as one of the top 50 or 100--or whatever--novels of the late 20th century.

For the close listener, this is definitely a very satisfying, dense work of fiction by a very talented and original writer. And for all its literary merits, it's a surprisingly entertaining and engaging listen.

Written in 1989 and set in 1999, parts of the book admittedly have a somewhat dated feel. The digressions on pornography and masturbation, for instance--which at the time of publication were still viewed as quite modern and "raw"--seem almost quaint by today's standards.
Yet other things, like Keith Talent's obsession with TV and video (and even his being featured in an early version of reality TV) are oddly prescient considering their pre-internet context.

But be prepared to rewind; Amis doesn't spell anything out, and there are enough soliloquies and extended rants (after all, this is 21+ hour download) for you to drift off and miss an essential character detail or plot point.

Fortunately for such a long book, the audio narration is unbelievably good. Pacey's American accent as the New York-born narrator Samson Young is almost flawless (think a smarter/sarcastic Regis Philbin) although he does give himself away with certain pronunciations (i.e., he pronounces urinal as "yurINEnal" instead of "YURinal", or calf as "koff" instead of "kaff"). But I have yet to hear an English narrator master a totally perfect American accent, so that's a pretty small quibble...
And it's worth having an English actor reading the novel because where he really shines is in his portrayal of East-ender Keith Talent. As such, this performance alone is worth the audio download, innit?

I just learned that a 2014 movie version of this is scheduled for release this fall. I have my doubts that a film adaptation could successfully capture the scope and appeal of the novel, but who knows?

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book, brilliantly narrated!

This is an astonising novel in which the modern English idiom is used with extreme hyperbole at once to amuse, to titilate, to shock to sadden and to horrify. It is a sweeping, lyrical and philosophical story with its characters persisting in one's memory like long absent dear friends. It is laugh-out-loud funny, highly literate and, at the end, a tear-jerker. If there is a Hell down there, I'm sure old Kingsley Amis' suffererings are compounded by the degree his considerable literary talent is surpassed by his own son (DNA check?).
Steven Pacey is the best narrator I have so far heard on Audible. I assume he is English, but he recites in a faultless and lively Mid-Western drawl, and masters several other voices and accents perfectly. He is such a pleasure to listen to that I would advise people NOT to read the book but to listen to it on Audible. It is a far richer experience.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The book is not only very clever (I'm sure lots when clear over my head), but the narrator is absolutely fabulous. He made the experience of listening to this masterpiece like true theater, never stepping out of character, no matter which character he was playing at the time

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

cover but ultimately a bit tedious

Amis is very clever and is a virtuoso stylist. But I often feel he's a bit of a show off. And the clever cleverness, and the witty writing tend to be be laid on a bit thick. It's like watching a fireworks display which is all grand finale. After a while it gets boring. It also pretty much eliminates any emotional concern for the characters. I particularly didn't;t like the conceit of the writer interacting with the characters he's writing about. And nearly all the main characters are caricatures--ridiculously exaggerated types. No doubt this is deliberate; but it makes them less interesting. On he plus side, his word choice is consistently entertaining.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This needs to be listened to by more people

This was a fantastic book. I have been a fan of both Martin Amis and Steven Pacey in the past. They are both excellent at what they do, and to have them come together for this title made this one excellent work to listen to. This book kept me enthralled for its entirety. I don't know if it is marked as a thriller, but I was still wondering what was going to happen until the last 10 minutes.

Martin Amis' characters are all terrible people. Accept and enjoy that and you will love this book. Other than that, they are funny, and flawed, and excellent characters. Sure, they may ride the lines of being stereotypes, but they're portrayed in an interesting way.

Then there is Steven Pacey. I am not afraid to acknowledge that Pacey is the best narrator I've listened to and I have over 100 audiobooks completed and he is in fine form here. His characters all sound great and easily distinguishable. He really added a lot and almost tips the scale to make listening to this book the superior choice.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Distrubing comedy

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Of course I would recommend it, however you should listen alone or at least not in mixed company.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Not what I excepted, and not very comfortable.

Which character – as performed by Steven Pacey – was your favorite?

Niccola, was great, and so was Keith, and Guy, but the writer Sam was my favorite.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many laugh out loud for many seconds, parts, and a few stop the recording and pull over to laugh moments, really too many list.

Any additional comments?

I don't usually go for novels from the English 80s but this one does nicely with the time period, and language. However it is dark and uncomfortable, I don't mind telling someone I know will not and has not read this or anything like this, but I don't know that I would want to admit to someone who was familiar with the work how much I enjoyed it, guilty indulgence or symptom of a diseased mind.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amis Delivers Again

The novel’s characters are so well developed. Just when I would start to think the dirtbag is just a dirtbag or the privileged twat is just a twat, Amis so delicately and subtly reminds me that I am those characters too. The judgement and empathy I felt simultaneously provoked me.

The plot seemed to take a back seat to the characters in the beginning, which made it even more enjoyable when the suspense started to build so well.

Pacey was such a good dramatic reader, I couldn’t stop thinking of him as the actual narrator, who was the most interesting character.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

No one to like in this well-written book

Martin Amis writes well. He doesn’t like any of the characters he created for London Fields, and I don’t blame him: they are pretty marginal people. The men in his present-day pre-apocalyptic world are either weaklings wearing signs that say “Take advantage of me” or else they are drunken, thieving, violent Lotharios. The novel’s leading female character, on the other hand, is a cruel, amoral, con-person who hates men and uses sex (or the promise thereof) as brutally as the riot police might use billy clubs and tear gas.

In spite of these quirks, I enjoyed the book. The writing is graceful and the story keeps one’s attention. Steven Pacey’s performance is excellent.
I

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sad I didn't read it till now.

Great work, made greater by the reader. Dialogue is sharp and commentary entertaining. Disappointed that it had to end.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Unpleasant characters , overwrought writing

Verbal skill of writer does not redeem this tale of miserable men and their world.