Session #18 November 25th, 2009: A Sense of Place

Today’s session will be on a Sense of Place, and the text will be an extract from British author Martin Amis’ book,  ” Money” (1984). I will bring Japanese translations of the extract.

The discussion will briefly include Romanticism and the Realism movement which followed it.

Session #19 will be next week, December 2nd, from 3:30 – 5:30.

P.S. You can listen here to an interview with Martin Amis discussing his book “Money” on the BBC (recorded 2002).

8 thoughts on “Session #18 November 25th, 2009: A Sense of Place”

  1. When I read books, I have never thought about the sense of place, rather I felt irritated by long descriptions of place because I wanted to read ahead or know the plot of the story right away. But I knew much description of the place make me see main character and the theme of the story well. From now on, I will appreciate the sense of place, too.

  2. John Self on one side of the road is like a bank rat. The busy road is like a rapid river. John Self and busy road in LA are real, and a bank rat in a rapid river is Ami’s imagination or metaphor. Martin Amis used other metaphors, too. The air polluted city sky is “a smear of God’s green snot.” He also wrote the story with much exaggeration, e.g., “It’s an Alcatraz autopsy.” ” The cabbies are all Saturnian.” ” There’s a bullhorn, a set of scope sights, and a coptered pig drawing a bead on your rug.”

    I remembered many exaggerations in “Teenage Skaz ” by Salinger. i.e.” I got bored as hell.” ” smoke himself to death ” ” He stepped back, and stepped right on the lady’s foot behind him. He probably broke every toe in her body.”

  3. “ a bank rat on a busy river” is a good simile for the city cars and pedestrians. The rat in the rapid river can’t get to the bank and is nearly drowned. Probably he will drown soon. In LA lots of cars run and run fast one after another, so pedestrians can rarely cross the road. The only way to get across the road is to be born on the other side. This expression is a very sarcastic to the car society and an exaggerated thought. This reminds me of ” Aesop’s Fables「都会のネズミと田舎のネズミ」”,

    1. “A bank rat on a busy river” is a simile for… what? For the narrator, John Self. Self is not IN the river (of cars), but on the bank. He goes left and then right, looking for a good restaurant or perhaps a place to cross the road. He is on the “bank” of the “river” of cars, like the river rat is on the bank of a real river.

      1. I misunderstood.I thought a bank rat was a name of a kind of rats. He was not in the rapid river but on the bank. The rat was going to across the river, was’nt he? So the rapid river is like the busy road and a bank rat is like a pedestrian who wants to cross the road.

  4. It was big contrast there between what we talked about in the previous session, about Rand, and what we read about this time, the anti-heroic voice story. On BBC, some listener commented with the instance, Tomahawk,(I don’t know whether it’s a compliment or not; please tell me). For me, Martin Amis’ words and sentences are swinging like a tomahawk, used by indigenous people in US.

  5. At first, I wondered why Martin Amis titled this story “Money”.
    Probably “The Sense of Place “ is a part of the story. Does he write about money in other parts of the story?

    Excellent descriptions of the novel are not mere ones. They represent visual details.

    Romanticism movement thought about the influences to human of the environment. ( If he grows up in the good environment ,he becomes good ,even if he was born in the bad place.) Also it opened people’s eyes to the sublime landscape’s beauty ,and in later Industry Age to negative image of the city view.

    Martin Amis “Money” (1984) described the wilderness of the city, LA eloquently, exaggeratedly, comically and visually. He often uses slangs, profane speeches, obscene conversations and a string of jokes, and involves readers into the world of the work, using various writing methods, i.e. conversation style,—-declarative sentence, interrogative question, imperative sentence and general you. In one sentence, he wrote the distich with rhyme. When Marc read this part with rhyme very rhythmically, it was very interesting and funny.

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