House of Meetings

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House of Meetings
First edition cover
Author Martin Amis
Illustrator Peter Mendelsund and Chip Kidd (US edition)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Jonathan Cape[1]
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 198

House of Meetings, by Martin Amis, is a 2006 novel about two brothers who share a common love interest while living in a Soviet gulag during the last decade of Stalin's rule. This novel was written by Amis during a two-year-long self-imposed exile in Uruguay following the release and tepid reception afforded to his 2003 novel Yellow Dog. The writing of House of Meetings "precipitated (another) creative crisis" for Amis,[2] which Amis reflected upon in 2010:

"You see those Posy Simmonds cartoons of people by the pool having cocktails and saying into the Dictaphone, 'On the second day, the last child died,'" he says. "And I was in Uruguay, with my beautiful wife and beautiful daughters, living a completely stressless life. So I had to do my suffering on the page and, Christ, did I do it. I was very nervous about that book."[2]

Plot summary[edit]

The novel centers on the modern-day (2004) recollections of the unnamed narrator/protagonist of his time spent in an Arctic gulag and the years that followed. The recollections are presented in the form of a memoir sent to the narrator's American stepdaughter, Venus. One of the primary plot elements is the complex relationship between the protagonist and his younger half-brother, Lev, who later joins him in the camp. Through many difficult revelations and trials, they eventually survive the harsh conditions of the camp and then must face a further challenge: re–acclimatizing to everyday life.

Literary significance and criticism[edit]

The novel's release was greeted with generally positive reviews; see, e.g., The Economist's October review.[3]


  1. ^ House of Meetings at Fantastic Fiction
  2. ^ a b Martin Amis and the sex war, Times Online, January 24, 2010
  3. ^ "Comeback man". October 12, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bentley, Nick (2014). Martin Amis (Writers and Their Work). Northcote House Publishing Ltd. 
  • Finney, Brian (2013). Martin Amis (Routledge Guides to Literature). Routledge. 
  • Bradford, Richard (November 2012). Martin Amis: The Biography. Pegasus. ISBN 978-1605983851.