The Pregnant Widow
By Martin Amis
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9781400095988, 370pp.)
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
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A riotous, bitingly funny, and supremely clever novel from one of our most distinctive voices in the English language.
The year is 1970, and Keith Nearing, a twenty-year-old literature student, is spending his summer vacation in a castle on a mountainside in Italy. The Sexual Revolution is in full-swing—a historical moment of unprecedented opportunity—and Keith and his friends are immediately caught up in its chaotic, ecstatic throes. Yet they soon discover a disturbing truth: between the death of one social order and the birth of another, there exists a state of liminal purgatory, once described by the Russian thinker Alexander Herzen as “a pregnant widow.”
As Amis deftly explores the repercussions and consequences of that one summer, he presents us with a precise and poignant portrait of the liberating possibilities, and the haunting consequences, of change. Expertly written and full of wit and pathos, The Pregnant Widow is Amis at his fearless best.