"The English language bows deeper to Amis than anyone else." The Daily Telegraph (UK)
A master not only of fiction but also of fiercely controversial political engagement, Martin Amis here gathers fourteen pieces that constitute an evolving, provocative and insightful examination of the most momentous event of our time.
At the heart of this collection is the long essay "Terror and Boredom," an unsparing analysis of Islamic fundamentalism and the West's flummoxed response to it, while other pieces address the invasion of Iraq, the realities of Iran and Tony Blair's pallid departure from Downing Street. Amis's reviews of pertinent books and films, from The Looming Tower to United 93, provide a wide-ranging survey of other responses to these calamitous issues, which are further explored in two short stories: "The Last Days of Mohammed Atta," and "In the Palace of the End," narrated by a Middle Eastern tyrant's double whose duties include epic lovemaking, grotesque torture and the duplication on his own body of the injuries sustained by his alter ego in constant assassination attempts.
Whether lambasted for his refusal to kowtow to Muslim pieties or hailed for his blunt common sense, Amis is indisputably a great pleasure to read-informed, elegant, surprising-and this collection a resounding contemplation of the relentless, manifold dangers we suddenly find ourselves living with.