The Analysis of the Opening to the Novel London Fields by Martin Amis
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The opening sentences to a novel are often not just an integral part of the plot of the writing but also a vital piece required to comprehend the message of the author. Sometimes, the opening is a half-opened curtain to the world of author's ideas, thoughts, and fears encapsulated in the novel's first sentences. The novel London Fields written by Martin Amis is not an exception in terms of the meaningfulness of its opening sentences. The first page of the novel is an implicit introduction to the authority of the narrator; the opening itself reflects the whole message of the book. The sentences opening of the novel revolutionary violate the borders of fiction and emphasize its blend with reality. Martin Amis's first words of the London Fields novel prepare the reader for the unique relationship between the author and the reader and accurately train the audience for the acceptance of the complex message and the plot of the rest of the novel. The opening reveals the novel as a true story of a world where murder and death are the only way to achieve purification, and love is the only hope for the salvation of the soul. In addition, the opening of the London Fields novel by Martin Amis exposes the narrator as a dying parasite who feels lucky to have the opportunity to write the story about the approaching death of a girl and sees it as the greatest accomplishment of his inutile life.
The meaning of the opening of Martin Amis's novel London Fields requires a profound analysis due to the peculiarity of its text in terms of structure, use of words and phrases, and the contradicting questions it provokes in the head of the reader. The initial encounter with Martin Amis's novel London Fields creates a strong connection between the opening sentences with the whole message of the novel. Martin Amis confuses the reader as the opening violates the frames of the general accepted fiction traits when the name of the murderer is revealed at the end of the novel. Martin Amis's opening sends a non-fiction signal to the mind of the reader causing murder- associated expectations to appear. The first sentence of the opening starts dictating the narrator's rules and adjusts the reader to the stance stating that "this is a true story" and emphasizing the fact that the narrator himself cannot "believe it’s really happening" (Amis 1). The first sentence of the London Fields illuminates the general stance delivered to the audience and changes the subconscious perception of whole novel making it truly realistic. Nevertheless, the fact that the narrator cannot actually believe that the story is "happening" gives the readers the last chance to understand that it is fiction. The opening continues saying that the novel is "a murder story" creating explicit expectations of death being the focal-point of the novel (Amis 1). The opening indicates that the narrator knows the murderer, the victim, and the motive of the murder. The fact that the victim is a woman can be clearly seen from the narrator’s acknowledgement that he knows "her motive" to die (Amis 1). The plot of the novel supports the murder-centrism of the opening throughout the concentration on the expected death of Nicola Six and the fact that she wanted to die to save herself from a lonely aged life. This gives a special mystery to the novel and brings up the question of the reasons the narrator does not prevent it. Evidently, the author wants the reader to wait for the murder as the climax and resolution of the major conflict of the novel.
As the opening continues, Martin Amis proceeds defining the novel as a "love story... of all strange things, so late in the century, so late in the goddamned day" revealing the narrators actual doubts about the validity of the use of the word "love" in terms of the story (Amis 1). Here, Amis emphasizes the meaning of love as the only hope for the world of the characters of the novel. It is proved by the words of Nicola Six further in the novel, stating that she could easily survive the absence of God in her life, but could never survive the death of love (Amis 132). This phrase makes it clear that it is a specific kind of love story, a story of no love at all. The absence of love in her life leads Nicola Six to the search of death and murder as purification for her soul and physical body. Basically, the first sentences of the opening of Martin Amis's London Fields prepare the reader for the main conflict and the plot of the novel. In other words, the reader manages to project the whole novel from the first sentences of its opening. Martin Amis's opening to the novel London Fields outstandingly demonstrates the author's fidelity to realism. Amis manages to" torture his characters into life" and creates a unique perception of the fact that the novel actually is qualified as "a true story" (Finney). The opening shows that the death and murder are inevitable and are actual standards of the reality. The multiply use of the word "story" alters the reader understanding that the narrator himself perceives reality as a fiction and vice versa. This brings a tremendous misbalance and leads to the reader's and narrator's confusion of reality with fiction. Martin Amis uses short simple sentences in the first sentences of London Fields to make it impossible for the reader to misinterpret the epistle of the novel. Amis strictly sets the main expectations for the reader in the first part of the opening (true murder love story), and the rest of the opening mostly deals with the reflection on the personality and the authority of the narrator, who seems to be playing God but fails to do it.
It is important to mention that the opening can be artificially divided into two parts: the part that gives an actual definition to the whole story and the part that identifies the role of the narrator for the outcome of the novel. Evidently, the second part of the opening is dedicated to the narrator’s personality and revels the narrator as the major driving force for the murder-centrism of the novel. The narrator Samson basically states that he cannot prevent the murder of the girl because he has already started "creating"(Amis 1).The opening shows that the narrator perceives the approaching murder as a professional gift for a novelist and even shows Samson's "tears of gratitude". It exposes Samson as the person who is responsible for the death of a woman or, in other words, a man who leads Nicole Six to her death just to make a magnificent story and become a recognized novelist. It goes without saying that Nicole Six decided to make someone murder her because her live seemed unbearable to her. Nevertheless, Samson, as the only man who can stop the strategy, does nothing to prevent it. The opening implies that the "girl will die" because, in the first place, she wants to die herself (Amis 1). It highlights the fact that the narrator justifies everything he does by the fact that Nicola Six decides to have herself murdered and, therefore, end up her miserable life. The narrator tries to satisfy his professional ambitions by means of supporting a woman in the desire to stop her life. The further plot of the novel perfectly reflects the incapability of the narrator to take responsibility for the girl's life revealed in the opening.
In the end of the opening, the narrator reveals his intentions to step in the narrative in the attempt to control it. The opening sentences state that the narrator is unable to simply "write it down" and is appealing to the fact that novelists usually fail to write a good story when "something real happens" (Amis 1). The narrator pretends to be a god-like observer but fails to be such performing intervention into the lives of the characters. The reader actually understands from the opening that the narrator does not take the possibility of the girl’s survival into consideration because it will completely ruin the plot of the story (Finney). The proceeding plot of the novel shows that Samson is a failure in his writing career as he experiences a hard time creating anything worthy. Correspondingly, he takes the opportunity to write this story as a gift and tries to do it as fast as possible in order to finish the novel before he dies of a "radiogenic" disease (Amis 161). In other words, the opening of Martin Amis's novel London Fields prepares the reader to the narrator's physical intrusion into the characters' lives with a view of accelerating the dénouement of the novel and, therefore, bringing closer the murder of Nicola Six. This attempt to accelerate the events is evidently observed in the narrator's desire to become Nicola's diary (Amis 62). The narrator eventually starts perceiving Nicola's story as his own story and expects only the end he needs for the perfect plot - Nicola's murder (Finney). Samson underestimates Nicola the same way as he underestimates Guy. The opening of London Fields foresees the narrator's failure to control the plot even after his brutal intervention into the lives of Nicola, Guy, and Keith. It is the narrator who is forced to take the pill to end up his miserable life because Nicola's "story worked" the way she wanted. As the narrator basically compared himself to the Creator in the opening, he does not only fail to succeed in "creating" but also becomes a victim of "fictional invention"(Finney).
The opening of Martin Amis's novel London Fields clearly illustrates the pattern of the development of the plot of the whole novel and summarizes the depth of the general message to the book's audience. The opening presented in London Fields indeed breaks the frames of traditional fiction and throws its fragments to the feet of reality. Martin Amis truly prepares the reader for the novel's development, making the reader believe that the novel is a true story, a story of a murder and love. The opening makes the reader ready for the narrator's intervention to a tragic story of murder of a young woman who sees her death as a catharsis. It reveals the narrator as a miserable personality, a dying parasite trying to self-realize and not to fail writing the story down. Evidently, the narrator fails to write the murder as he becomes the victim himself and ends up his life taking a pill. To conclude, it is necessary to say that it is Martin Amis's outstanding talent to encapsulate the plot and message of the whole novel in the first nineteen sentences that makes the audience read the book till the last page.
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