Monday, January 22, 2007

More pain?

The more I read The Information, the more I think it is memoir-ical. (I just made up that word.) Not totally, in the "all-first-novels-are-thinly-veiled-memoirs" way (thanks, JSFoer) but in the sort of "oooh, that paragraph probably really happened to him" way.

And, I am still finding passages that are biting, sharp, funny but then also when you think about it quite sobering. Example:

"The target is driving along. Without a care in the world, as they say. Although of course no one old enough to drive is without a care in the world. No one old enough to drive a trike is without a care in the world. Everyone is right up there at the very brink of their pain limit. That was one of the reasons why it was so easy to hurt people: they were never ready. More pain? Nobody needed that. Nobody thought they could possibly have room for any more, until it came." -- p. 147

So, our buddy Martin Amis appears on the cover of Pages magazine this month. There's an interview in which I learned things about him, including that The Information apparently sold only about 40,000 copies. I sort of think that half or fewer of the people who buy a book ever get around to reading it, but even if it's more, plus factoring in libraries, used bookstores, and borrowing from friends, let's say 40,000-50,000 people have actually read this one. Could that be true? It's sort of mind-boggling to contemplate. Let's say I tack on a few more out of generosity and imagine 60,000 have read it. Let's say based on population of large English speaking countries that not quite half of those readers are in the U.S., so I'm down to 30,000. This puts me at fewer than 1,000 per state. Even though I've lived in California (biggest population) and Boston (uber-literary city) and New York (the best of both of those worlds) I'm suddenly less surprised that I don't know a soul who's read it.

Perhaps I should indeed have selected Money or The Rachel Papers...

But I like this one!

1 comment:

micah said...

there is a lot of amis' writing that is based on truth, in some way or another. well, er, yeah, that sounds obvious...yeah. anyways, there's a lot of him in it, but there's also a lot of his father and his writer friends (namely, saul bellow and christopher hitchens - odd combo, that).