The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

Martin Amis was 24 when he published The Rachel Papers, his first novel, in 1974. It’s about a young man, almost 20, who wants to have sex with a fairly uninteresting young woman named Rachel. He also wants to go to Oxford. He is a literary smart-ass, who apparently puts everything about his life on paper: how to seduce Rachel, how to get into Oxford, and so on. We don’t get to read what the young man writes. Instead, we get his interior monologue. It’s funny at times, with many clever remarks, but way too many references to bodily fluids, bad skin and questionable hygiene.  (6/17/11)