Posts tagged ‘Martin Amis’

February 20, 2014

The Rats: James Herbert

by Andre

40th anniversary – spring 2014

James Herbert THE RATSThe nation’s bookshops have been infested with literary rodents for four decades. The Rats was a horrible hit for James Herbert (read our tribute to the master of modern British horror here) in 1974 and beyond. The book has remained in print and publisher Pan Macmillian will issue a 40th anniversary edition in the spring.

When Herbert’s story about giant, murderous rodents with razor-sharp teeth first appeared, its detractors included a young Martin Amis, who reviewed it for The Observer. Admittedly, The Rats is a fundamentally silly and under-developed novel, but when you read it today its anger at complacent authority feels genuine. Herbert was an East End boy made good (he became the art director of an advertising agency), so he knew the appalling post-war conditions that had never really been addressed: poor housing, dystopian tower blocks, casual violence – and vermin.

Herbert’s horror was a gory rejection of the ghost story and the snobbish novels of satanic terror by Dennis Wheatley, as well as being admirably unsentimental: his rodents nibbled at everyone regardless of class, gender, age or colour. (Stephen King also shook up the genre with his debut, Carrie, in 1974). The popularity of The Rats dovetailed with the rise of punk and they both provided a small shock to the establishment. There’s a strong sense of discontent, industrial unrest and government incompetence in Herbert’s depiction of the Seventies. He went on to write better books (Fluke, The Magic Cottage, Sepulchre), but The Rats still packs a punch. Once you’ve read the horrific scene in the Underground, you won’t be able to descend into London Bridge again without looking out for a dirty rat.

July 12, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 – £2 off!

by Andre

We can help with all your summer reading requirements – and we’ve got £2 off dozens of selected paperback titles in fiction and non-fiction including novels by Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel and A.M. Homes. The £2 discount applies while stocks last – and we’ll be adding new titles to our Summer Reading so come and have a browse. Click on the book covers below to view a gallery of just some of the books on offer.

April 18, 2013

Granta: Best of Young British Novelists

by Andre

The once-a-decade edition of Granta that names the 20 best British writers under 40 has been all over the media, as you’d expect from a list which launched in 1983 and has previously featured Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson, Alan Hollinghurst, Sarah Waters and Zadie Smith (who gets a second nod in 2013, along with Adam Thirlwell.) Congratulations to this year’s anointed authors (particularly fellow south London bookseller Evie Wyld) in the fourth edition of this literary landmark. We’ve got the new Granta (issue 123) in stock as well as a selection of novels by the 2013 intake – click on the book covers below to view the gallery.