Lionel Asbo by Martin Amis
State of England

59%

9 Critic Reviews

Lionel Asbo is another finely crafted novel and in many respects indicative of Mr. Amis’s gradual return to form...The realism of the satirical rendering of its target, however, is highly debatable in terms of its accuracy and validity.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

A savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant saga by a renowned author at the height of his powers. 

Lionel Asbo, a terrifying yet weirdly loyal thug (self-named after England's notorious Anti-Social Behaviour Order), has always looked out for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Desmond Pepperdine.  He provides him with fatherly career advice (always carry a knife, for example) and is determined they should share the joys of pit bulls (fed with lots of Tabasco sauce), Internet porn, and all manner of more serious criminality.  Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books to read and a girl to love (and to protect a family secret that could be the death of him).  But just as he begins to lead a gentler, healthier life, his uncle—once again in a London prison—wins £140 million in the lottery and upon his release hires a public relations firm and begins dating a cannily ambitious topless model and “poet.”  Strangely, however, Lionel's true nature remains uncompromised while his problems, and therefore also Desmond's, seem only to multiply.

 

About Martin Amis

See more books from this Author
Martin Amis is the best-selling author of several books, including London Fields, Money, The Information, and, most recently, Experience. He lives in London.
 
Published August 21, 2012 by Vintage. 274 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Lionel Asbo
All: 9 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 4

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Aug 19 2012

The book isn’t ambitious or persuasive enough, however, to earn such a subtitle. It reads less like a big “state of England” novel than a smallish postcard mailed from there some years ago.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Nicola Barker on Jun 12 2012

It is every inch the novel that we all deserve. So let's give thanks that Martin Amis was bad enough and brave enough to write it.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Theo Tait on Jun 08 2012

Lionel Asbo isn't a book that you'd press into someone's hands, like Money or The Rachel Papers. It is basically incoherent.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from Guardian

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Aug 16 2012

Lionel isn't paradoxical so much as half-written, a disjointed composite of underclass British stereotypes.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Parul Sehgal on Aug 29 2012

In Lionel Asbo, the characters tailor their behavior to match the vulgarity of their papers. It's a trend that one feels Amis minds — but not too much. It gives him so many wonderful monsters to play with.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from NPR

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Darren Richard Carlaw on Aug 21 2012

Lionel Asbo is another finely crafted novel and in many respects indicative of Mr. Amis’s gradual return to form...The realism of the satirical rendering of its target, however, is highly debatable in terms of its accuracy and validity.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Aug 28 2012

This is hardly the glossy photo op the recent London Olympic games...strived to create. But it is writing of a high order: technically brilliant, dazzling in style, manic in energy and driven by a narrative momentum impossible to resist.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Charles Foran on Aug 24 2012

...the novel mingles in genuine characters with the usual comedic grotesques, and is tender, almost earnest, in its emotions.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison on Aug 19 2012

...''Lionel Asbo'' is at heart an old-fashioned novel, earnest in its agenda.

Read Full Review of Lionel Asbo: State of England | See more reviews from NY Times

Reader Rating for Lionel Asbo
67%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 174 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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