In his tenth novel, English novelist Martin Amis examines the 'obscenification of everyday life' in four narratives that spindle toward one another on a literal collision course. First is the story of Xen Meo, an actor with a dark past who suffers a personality-altering head injury after a savage attack. In the second, a fictionalized royal family is blackmailed as they face a legion of other potential scandals. The third is the saga of Clint Smoker, an insecure tabloid journalist, whose interaction with several unsavory denizens of the criminal underground bring the other stories together. Amis then interjects the weird story of a casket-bound corpse resolute on crashing the plane transporting it. Amis's novel is a comic masterpiece, darkly in tune with the endlessly shifting moral values of our troubled planet. But Amis is also concerned with what is changeless and perhaps unchangeable: patriarchy, and the entire edifice of masculinity, the violence arising between man and man, the tortuaous alliances between men and women: and the vanished dream that we can protect our future and our progeny.
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