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The Pregnant Widow | [Martin Amis]

The Pregnant Widow

The year is 1970, and it's a long, hot summer. In a castle on a mountainside in Italy, half a dozen young lives are afloat on a sea of change, trapped inside the history of the sexual revolution. The girls are acting like boys, the boys are going on acting like boys, and Keith Nearing - 20 years old, a literature student all clogged up with the English novel - is struggling to twist feminism and women's ascendency toward his own ends.
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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1970, and it's a long, hot summer. In a castle on a mountainside in Italy, half a dozen young lives are afloat on a sea of change, trapped inside the history of the sexual revolution. The girls are acting like boys, the boys are going on acting like boys, and Keith Nearing - 20 years old, a literature student all clogged up with the English novel - is struggling to twist feminism and women's ascendency toward his own ends.

The tragicomedy of manners that ensues will have an indelible effect on all its participants, and we witness, too, how it shapes Keith’s subsequent love life for decades to come. Bitingly funny, full of wit and pathos, The Pregnant Widow is a trenchant portrait of young lives being carried away on a sea of change.

©2010 Martin Amis. All rights reserved. (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"Amid droll banter and hilariously raunchy episodes, immensely gifted and piquantly mercurial Amis ponders, in passages of surpassing eloquence, beauty, time, self, deception, 'the winepress of death,' and the abiding light of literature, deepening the valence of this charmingly provocative and philosophical comedy of desire." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.0 (40 )
5 star
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3.2 (13 )
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Story
4.3 (12 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robert Holland Decatur, GA USA 09-22-10
    Robert Holland Decatur, GA USA 09-22-10 Member Since 2009

    quiltchannel.com

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Rich, caustic, hilarious"

    I very much enjoyed my stay with this rich cast of characters as they acted out their "formative" summer in Italy. Raunchy, yes, but also fiercely intelligent and socially astute. And funny as hell. Very well narrated as well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Iva New York, NY, USA 05-22-10
    Iva New York, NY, USA 05-22-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    Overall
    "great book"

    I "read" it in a day.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 07-16-10
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 07-16-10 Member Since 2005

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
    710
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    332
    159
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    6
    Overall
    "A Real Bore"

    Honestly, how long do you want to listen to a 20-year old guy in the 1960s obsessing about getting into the pants of a girl ridiculously named Scheherazade? Or hear about rich, pampered brats staying in an Italian castle for the summer, spending most of their time ridiculing others and trading beds? I lived through the '60s, and even I was bored by this book. I'm halfway through Part 2 (that's 10.5 hours of good time wasted), and I'm sacking it. I'll check back later, just in case someone who has finished it can convince me to go back to it.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sheila kehoe New York, NY, US 08-12-12
    sheila kehoe New York, NY, US 08-12-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Wanted to like this book more; Audible helped."
    What did you like best about The Pregnant Widow? What did you like least?

    Martin Amis is a super-intelligent writer. He is not just telling a story, but also sharing ideas about how the world spins. The past story within the present story works well for this. The backstory draws the reader into this sexy and mysterious world where you wonder who's going to end up with whom. The downside is the story gets diverted by all the ideas that Amis wants to fit around it. The book is just too long for the story. I was reading it as a book group assignment and running out of time finishing it, so I downloaded the Audible and made it to the end. I was the only one in our group that did. They complained about the length as well as the characters which they found unlikeable. I actually liked the anti-hero aspect of the narrator, but I agree about the length. Having the story read by the male reader doing all the voices gave a sense of the narrator being just that -- a storyteller. It help make the book more like-able and humorous.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I really loved the setting of the past story. This castle with all its twists and turns fits the story very well; but the story has far too many twists and turns and divergences. It could have been shorter.


    What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

    He was very amusing doing the female voices. It helped make the book more humorous and the narrator more like-able.


    Do you think The Pregnant Widow needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. We already have TMI. Although it would be interesting to hear the story told from the point of view of one of the women. I don't think Martin Amis could write it though. He has a very distinctly male voice.


    Any additional comments?

    It got me curious to read more of Martin Amis' shorter and earlier books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Dunn Vancouver, BC Canada 07-04-12
    Andrew Dunn Vancouver, BC Canada 07-04-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    Performance
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    "Self-indulgent, narcissistic and unpleasant"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Somebody who doesn't mind following Amis on a one-way journey up his own arse


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something not by Amis


    What does Steven Pacey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He does well with the characterisation


    What character would you cut from The Pregnant Widow?

    Amis/Nearing, all the other ones


    Any additional comments?

    Really, really poor book. Impossibly louche characters used as a vehicle for Amis' own imaginary recollections of his youth, and to reinforce his own particular prejudices. A mean-spirited little book, too. Awful. It was my nth attempt at an Amis Jr., and has forever cured me of the impression that he has something to offer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-13-10
    05-13-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "awful"

    After 15 minutes I turned it off. This is the worst book I have ever listened to. The story line is offensive and the language is repulsive. Dont buy this!!!

    6 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. R. L. AMARILLO, TX USA 08-17-10
    L. R. L. AMARILLO, TX USA 08-17-10 Member Since 2004

    LRL

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A SHORT READ"

    I LASTED 20 MINUTES. WHY WASTE ANY MORE TIME? I SHOULD ASK FOR MY MONEY BACK !!

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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