Very cleverly written novel telling the story of a Holocaust doctor's life going backward from his death to his birth. At first, I found the narrative to be very disconcerting. Dialogue and events were all written in reverse chronological order. The doctor's experiences after the war seem as if he is harming the patients while the atrocities committed during the war at the death camps read as if he is raising the dead and helping the Jews go to their original lives. For example on page 76 while the doctor is working in a hospital emergency room -- "You want to know what I do? All right. Some guy comes in with a bandage around his head. We don't mess about. We'll soon have that off. He's got a hole in his head. So what do we do? We stick a nail in it. Get the nail--a good rusty one--from the trash or wherever. And lead him out to the Waiting Room where he's allowed to linger and holler for a while before we ferry him back to the night..." Some of the scenes during the war at the death camps were pretty hard to take but overall this was an exceptional novel - very creative and engrossing.
only a writer with the overarching vision and prodigal narrative gifts of Martin Amis could give us a novel that not ony rethinks history but Drastically revises our notion of time itself.
this is a very cool book. the author really pulled off what seemed would be the impossible task of writing a life in reverse. tod's soul is aware that time should go forward but tod seems unaware. there was one moment when time went forward in the book and i would love to know the author's reason for that brief moment.
Takes a while to get into the un-rhythm (and sometimes it helps to read the dialogue exchanges again in reverse order) but a very interesting read. I thought the author pulled off his experiment very well. It's like one long flashback, where you know what's happened and are being told how things led up to that point, in spades.
Finished Time's Arrow by Martin Amis yesterday. Was COMPLETELY unimpressed. Ugh. In fact, I disliked it so much I didn't even bother to write an actual review. It was hard to follow, and generally uninteresting. I was not invested in the character and so I was not invested in the major pivotal plot point that I was waiting on and knew would occur early in his life and late in the book. The whole 'time told backward' narration device did NOT get any easier to keep up with, as I had hoped it would early on in the book. Dialogue was a pain especially. The only things that saved this book from a 'Hate' was that it was short, so the torture didn't last too long (although it still managed to drag) and I did enjoy the theme of hurting and healing.
Still, I would not recommend this book.
3/10 - Dislike