Ayelet Waldman Recommends

“Maybe it’s not fair to call Martin Amis underappreciated,” Waldman says. “After all, he’s the writer whose teeth much of Britain’s literary community was obsessed with for quite some time. Still, there is one of his books that I find to be generally loathed, despite the fact that it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In fact, I only ever met one other person who liked Time’s Arrow. But this is the book I’m recommending. In my (very humble and probably incorrect) estimation, it’s a fabulous novel, probably one of Amis’s best, maybe even the best. It tells the story of a man who lives his life backwards, from his death through to his birth. He does everything backwards. Everything. Moving his bowels is an exercise that involves sucking feces from the toilet into his butt (gross, I know, but somehow wildly entertaining), eating is similarly backwards; bite by bite he vomits up his meal. Lest you think that I’m consumed by the scatological and the regurgitory (I know that’s not a word, but it should be), there are many other things I love about this book. It uses a narrative conceit to shine a light on the Holocaust and thus avoids so much of what it facile and trite about most novels having to do with atrocity and despair.”

Ayelet Waldman is the author of Daughter’s Keeper and of the Mommy-Track mysteries: Death Gets a Time Out, Playdate with Death, The Big Nap, Murder Plays House and Nursery Crimes. She now has a blog called Bad Mother.