Jennifer Rockwell, the Femme Fatale in this contemporary novel is dead and it is up to Detective Mike Hoolihan- an emasculated female detective (“If you take intelligence from me, if you take it from my face, then you really don’t leave me with very much at all.”) – to find out why.
Night Train is Martin Amis’ literary police procedural crime novel and true to literary type novels, character comes before plot. Hints that Jennifer Rockwell is a femme fatale are dropped throughout the novel.
In doing this research on Martin Amis, I learned that he normally spends two hours a day on his writing, five days a week. Except when he is in intensive editorial mode where he could spend 6 hours on his manuscript. I like this about Amis because it gives me hope regarding my own writing. Two hours a day seems to be my limit in working on my fiction. I usually work in the morning and then take a break. I always tell myself that I’ll get back to my writing later in the afternoon. Sometimes I do, but most times – I don’t.
Amis is best known for his novels Money and London Fields which were published in the 80’s. Since then, he’s had published more than a dozen novels.
Suicide figures strongly in his novels, especially in Night Train (1998) a detective noir novel.
‘Night Train’ belongs to that special class of fiction, the literary genre novel. Amis takes the conventions of the crime genre, and more specifically the hardboiled noir genre; he plays with them, he turns them on their head, and he delivers as a result one of the most scintillating pieces of fiction in a generation.
I once wrote a post In Praise of Messiness . The odd thing is that I like a minimalist, clean look in every other room in my home but my office. Except for Mr. Amis furniture, I quite like his office. It has that messy , familiar feeling that I am comfortable with.
Photographer: Eamonn McCabe