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Publisher's Summary

Lionel Asbo, a terrifying yet weirdly loyal thug (self-named after England's notorious "Anti-Social Behaviour Order"), has always looked out for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Desmond Pepperdine. He provides him with fatherly career advice (always carry a knife, for example) and is determined they should share the joys of pit bulls (fed with lots of Tabasco sauce), Internet porn, and all manner of more serious criminality. Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books to read and a girl to love (and to protect a family secret that could be the death of him).

But just as he begins to lead a gentler, healthier life, his uncle - once again in a London prison - wins £140 million in the lottery, and upon his release, hires a public relations firm and begins dating a cannily ambitious topless model and “poet”. Strangely, however, Lionel's true nature remains uncompromised, while his problems, and therefore also Desmond's, seem only to multiply.

©2012 Martin Amis (P)2012 AudioGO

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 01-03-13

Jēz...us! Just don't buy it for your Grans.

Amis can write the darkest satire with a lyrical heart that beats with warm, soft blood. 'Lionel ASBO' is sad, funny, gratuitous, sick and full of life. It is like Dickens was written by William Burroughs.

Covered in grit, the characters in this Amis novel seem at first like bizarre 21st century, Cruikshank caricatures that just keep bouncing back and forth in my head between the real, the surreal and the unreal -- so I keep on doubting my own palsied view of the world.

Anywho, this novel seems like a better-adjusted, less disquieting version of Amis' magnum opus 'Money'. Lionel ASBO has more heart, and just slightly less art. Amis traded a little of the floating world . . . for the heavy. Just please Jēz...us don't buy it for Grans.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Dalekchap
  • San Diego, CA United States
  • 11-19-12

A train wreck you cannot look away from...

If you could sum up Lionel Asbo in three words, what would they be?

A distillation of real English people who you would not want to meet.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Lionel Asbo?

Who let the dogs in. And we will never know.

Which scene was your favorite?

The first family meeting at the country manor, Wormwood Scrubs.

If you could take any character from Lionel Asbo out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Definitely NOT Lionel Asbo

Any additional comments?

One of the most well written books I have enjoyed. The prose alone is worth the listen - and the story is superb. But if you are an American anglophile you might want to stay away. As a Brit in the US, the 'orrible English characters resonate - albeit disturbingly!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cecil
  • PORTLAND, OR, USA
  • 10-21-13

Classic Martin Amis - for better or worse

If you liked Keith from London Fields, you'll love Lionel. More to the point, you will love the Lionel presented in the voice of the astonishing Alex Jennings. I am sure that I had simply read this book, I would gave hated it. The story is classic Martin Amis, equal parts silly and mean-spirited, but Jennings's voice put it on a different plane. What was facile became cinematic; I could almost picture Ray Winstone, thick fingers wrapped around a can of Cobra, radiating menace as he explained the facts of life to his young protege . . .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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amis wins again

wonderful dialogue and a fantastic narration performance which made it real to an American ear. such wonderfully constructed and bizarre characters.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Alex Jennings!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I started listening to this book, then wondered if the print version was in dialect. To an extent, but nothing like what Alex Jennings does with the voices and the accents. To my mind, this is a case where the spoken version is better than the written.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lionel, obviously.

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

The accents, the tone of the characters. It's a masterful piece of work.

If you could take any character from Lionel Asbo out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Certainly not Lionel!

Any additional comments?

I realize that life is short and there are only so many books a man can read. But please, let Alex Jennings do as many as possible before he's worn out. His reading of "A History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters" by Julian Barnes is not to be missed!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Shockingly good

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - crazy fun book

What was one of the most memorable moments of Lionel Asbo?

Des the baby and the dogs.

Which character – as performed by Alex Jennings – was your favorite?

Lionel crazy delusional Lionel

Any additional comments?

This was one of my book group choices. I was at first leery but when this book finally grabbed my I was hooked. Not for everyone but I loved it.

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Great Reader

Where does Lionel Asbo rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Pretty high up. Great British reader. I couldn't get into the book, but knew that the audio would be good.

Which character – as performed by Alex Jennings – was your favorite?

Lionel - I can still hear his voice in my head many months later.

If you could rename Lionel Asbo, what would you call it?

Lottery Lout. Asbo is so perfect = Anti-social behaviour order. This guy just didn't get it.

Any additional comments?

I usually listen to audio books when they have different accents.

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  • carmen
  • OFallon, MO, United States
  • 01-06-13

Lionel Asbo the anti-role model

If you could sum up Lionel Asbo in three words, what would they be?

Anti-social Behavior Ordinance

What was one of the most memorable moments of Lionel Asbo?

It was about a kid who was raised by his uncle. His uncle was in and out of jail so many times he changed his name to asbo (anti-social behavior ordinance). Just to give you backround on how he might have been raised. When he was 15 he had an affair with his grandmother ( who I think was a prostitute). He wrote the local advise columnist and ask was it wrong. Then when the affair was over Desmond noted,"I did catch the ironical nature of the fact that at 15 I had been dumped for a younger man"

Which character – as performed by Alex Jennings – was your favorite?

So I am not sure if I read this to myself I would have understood or I might have read a whole different book. The way he brought out the naivete of all the characters made it funny. So instead of being a story about a bunch of juvenile deliquents with a cracked out mother ( or grandmother), it was about people with a different moral compass trying to live. Also the narrator got the nuances when the character was trying to be something they are not.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I think Martin Amis already got it. State of England. Could be America too.

Any additional comments?

I know i laughed a lot through the book. I am not sure, however, if it was so funny because it was sad or it was sad that it was so funny.

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  • Performance
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Laughed out loud while strolling

What made the experience of listening to Lionel Asbo the most enjoyable?

The story is unusual, and descriptions of life in small English town are quite funny. Antics of the title character, well read by performer, greatly amused me..

What was one of the most memorable moments of Lionel Asbo?

Fifteen year old Des realizing that his title character guardian might have discovered his liaison with youngish grandmother.

Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

NA

Who was the most memorable character of Lionel Asbo and why?

Des, as his struggle to understand relationships resonates with personal experience.