Lionel Asbo: State of England

So I finally scored a large Home point by doing about 8 loads of laundry, picking up in the bedroom and cleaning my bathroom.

I finished Lionel Asbo, so one Books point. I have mixed feelings about it. I like Amis a lot but I can only take him in small doses. The book is about an underprivileged family in London, where the lead characters are the gentle and law-abiding Desmond Pepperdine (15) and his criminal, violent, tyrannical and deliberately stupid uncle, Lionel Asbo (21), who has named himself after Britain’s controversial Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. Life carries on in a fairly desperate way in this desperate borough, which has a life expectancy of 60 with old age beginning at 40. People are poor and depraved and everything hates everything. Then Lionel wins £140 million on the lottery. It does not really improve his personality but it does allow him to express it more flamboyantly.

Amis’s many strengths include characterisation. Lionel is a recognisable figure, and he’s more than a caricature, he’s much more intelligent than he appears and yet is determined to keep striking the pose of an offensive, uncontainable anti-hero. There’s also quite a lot of enjoyable comic satire about what happens in Britain when unpopular and undeserving people acquire large sums of money.  Lionel is said to resemble Wayne Rooney. Glamour model Jordan makes an appearance. I hear that other readers feel that Amis has done better satire elsewhere but I liked it well enough and the comedy was very welcome in the generally dark and grim surroundings of the novel. It is a well-told story, fluidly written, as you’d expect from Amis. I think I want to give it 8/10. I’m just not hungry to read any more Martin Amis right now.

I think that’s all for now. See you later.



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