May 19, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Pregnant Widow

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Martin Amis
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction
We gave it a B-

What have the Keiths of this world ever done to Martin Amis? First he introduced us to the hateful do-badder Keith Talent in his 1989 masterpiece London Fields. Now he brings us Keith Nearing, the hero of The Pregnant Widow, this 1970-set comic novel who not only has the ”most plebeian name there is” but also thinks it’s okay to drug his girlfriend so he can sleep with someone else. Alas, while Amis still routinely stuns with the intelligence of his phrase-making, this tale of twentysomethings hanging out at an Italian castle is much less fun than both Fields and Amis’ earlier, dramatically similar Dead Babies. B?

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