Chloe: “To paraphrase the tagline of Whiskas Tempation Treats: Just Shake The Amis And These Cats’ll Come Running. Okay, yes, that’s a tad awkward. But the main point is that the arrival of a new Martin Amis novel is a sort of holiday here in East Williamsburg. We’ve devoured everything this funny little man has ever written, and even loved Yellow Dog, which a mean critic said was like watching your uncle masturbate in the park, which I guess means we like watching our uncle masturbate in the park, and what of it?
Lionel Asbo, State of England—out in August, kittens—is about a violent, shiftless dickhead who is in and out of jail until he wins a gazillion dollars in the lottery, at which point he becomes a violent, shiftless, very rich dickhead who feeds Tabasco to his bloodthirsty pitbulls, resides in a ‘heavy-metal hotel’ full of other dickheads, and has a fake relationship with a self-proclaimed ‘poetess’ who is sort of like a faux-brainy Kardashian. The hero of the story is his nephew, Desmond. Per usual, Amis is excellent at mixing up light stuff and dark stuff, so that you’re sort of giggling and retching up hairballs, alternately, the whole time. I mean, like, there’s a bunch of incest in this book, but it’s sort of funny. Oh, Martin!
For some reason—maybe the general vibe of crime-ridden London—the book made us think of Michael Caine in the excellent film Harry Brown, which is about a senior citizen who gets so pissed off about the crappy place he lives in that he goes on a vigilante rampage and does things like kill gangsters who grow marijuana. So we started imagining Martin Amis himself, the real Martin Amis, being a sort of Michael Caine-type character, with guns and stuff, running around with his adorably bad British teeth and being all ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!’ In reality Mr. Amis seems like a gentle soul, despite the pretty messed up things he writes about. He’s also got his priorities straight: This book has an adorable, blameless kitten and two vile dogs, the latter being the essential villains of the novel itself, as it should be. We don’t really care whether Lionel Asbo gets good reviews or not, since the critics love to hate a winner. All we can say is: Keep masturbating, Uncle!”