Of all the anti-heroes in modern literature, Keith Talent has to be the best. He plays darts, drinks beer and watches pornography, secure in the knowledge that life is too short to work and pay taxes. His criminal enterprises are dogged by failure and a sense of impending disaster that taints all the other aspects of his life, including his beloved darts.
Martin Amis has his detractors. Even his own father, the esteemed novelist Kingsley Amis, was said to have hurled one of Amis’s earlier works across the room in outrage at his son’s disrespect for the form. Others have cited his genius, lamenting the fact that he has never really lived up to expectations.
Keith Talent works for me. Martin Amis might be self-indulgant and verbose at times, but he has a wonderful sense of comic timing. London Fields has taken me a long time to read, but in the words of its principal character – Good stuff innit!