House of Meetings

Dec 19, 2007 at 12:00 am

The cynically belletristic bad boy of 1980s British literature has gone off and done the last thing anybody quite expected of him: Martin Amis penned a controlled, subtle, moving and modest piece of fiction. House of Meetings chronicles a love triangle between two brothers, who both end up in a gulag during Stalin's Soviet Union, and the sensual Jewess from their hometown. Amis being Amis, the novel is neither linear nor prosaic, and like Amis at his best, Meetings at its core is about a man trying to come to terms with the wreckage that he calls his life. But where Amis' pyrotechnic command of the English language in novels such as London Fields or The Information might have rubbed some readers the wrong way, House of Meeting is restrained, aiming for the gravity of the Russian masters who so obviously influenced this.