What is this shit? If Martin Amis weren’t such a household name, he would have struggled to find a publisher for Lionel Asbo, his latest, already dated novel about a career criminal who wins the lottery and moves into a mansion called Wormwood Scrubs with his glamour-girlfriend ‘Threnody’. Sure, Amis has been unlucky to have Lionel Asbo published just weeks after the British government decided to replace Asbos, but it’s not as if the rest of the book is in any way current. At times it seems as if it is Amis, not Abso, who has done the lengthy stint in prison, so off-key are his observations on contemporary Britain. Of course, Amis has been away. He moved to America while writing Lionel Asbo – and it shows. More than once, Lionel Asbo – who is supposed to be so British he won’t even go on holiday – refers to his ‘cellphone’.
This is a terrible novel, the worst Amis has ever written. It surely can’t be long now before his career comes to its logical conclusion with the publication of a novel made up of nothing but lists of stupid names he’s thought of for places, porn-stars and poor people.