Time's Arrow

By Martin Amis; Published In 1991
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Literature, Novels
Beneath the clock was an enormous arrow, on which was printed: Change Here For Eastern Trains. But time had no arrow, not here.

Blood and bodies and death and power.

Dove saremmo Tod e io senza il gabinetto? Dove saremmo senza tutta la spazzatura?

Era novembre. Gli umani si erano fatto crescere cappotti invernali e gli alti edifici tremavano nella stretta soffocante degli equilibri tra le diverse tensioni.

Evidentemente è questa la caratteristica della città contemporanea. Puoi aver voglia di lavorarci. Ma nessuno si aspetta seriamente che tu ci viva.

Her body is probably naked by now but there is nothing as naked as human eyes: they haven't even got skin over them.

He turns the pages from right to left. He begins at the beginning and ends at the end. This makes a quirky sense to me—but Mikio and I are definitely in the minority here. And how can we two be right? It would make so many others wrong. Water moves upward. It seeks the highest level. What did you expect? Smoke falls. Things are created in the violence of fire. But that’s all right. Gravity still pins us to the planet.

How many times have I asked myself: when is the world going to start making sense? Yet the answer is out there. It is rushing towards me over the uneven ground.

I have to say that the situation didn't look very promising. There was a woman in the bed right enough. But there was a man there too. Fully clothed, enormous in midnight-blue serge suit and peaked cap, he knelt above her rhythmically slapping her face with a pendulum action of his heavy-gloved hand. No, this didn't look like our kind of thing at all. Warily John slipped out of his socks and shirt. You have to give him credit: he keeps his cool and works the percentages. Now the two mean moved strangely past each other; and with some diffidence John climbed into bed. The other guy stared at us, with raised, with churning face. Then he did some shouting and strode out of there - though he paused, and thoughtfully dimmed the lights, as he left the room. We heard his boots on the stairs. The lady clutched me.

"My husband!" she explained.

Is it a war we are fighting, a war against health, against life and love? My condition is a torn condition. Every day, the dispensing of existence. I see the face of suffering. Its face is fierce and distant and ancient.
There's probably a straightforward explanation for the impossible weariness I feel. A perfectly straightforward explanation. It is a mortal weariness. Maybe I'm tired of being human, if human is what I am. I'm tired of being human.

It’s all strange to me. I know I live on a fierce and magical planet, which sheds or surrenders rain or even flings it off in whipstroke after whipstroke, which fires out bolts of electric gold into the firmament at 186,000 miles per second, which with a single shrug of its tectonic plates can erect a city in half an hour. Creation … is easy, is quick. There’s also a universe, apparently. But I cannot bear to see the stars, even though I know they’re there all right, and I do see them, because Tod looks upward at night, as everybody does, and coos and points. The Plough. Sirius, the dog. The stars, to me, are like pins and needles, are like the routemap of a nightmare. Don’t join the dots.… Of the stars, one alone can I contemplate without pain. And that’s a planet. The planet they call the evening star, the morning star. Intense Venus.

It seems to me that you need a lot of courage, or a lot of something, to enter into others, into other people. We all think that everyone else lives in fortresses, in fastnesses: behind moats, behind sheer walls studded with spikes and broken glass. But in fact we inhabit much punier structures. We are, as it turns out, all jerry-built. Or not even. You can just stick your head under the flap of the tent and crawl right in. If you get the okay.

La città - è la città che dovrà guarirli, con lame di coltello e automobili, manganelli, colpi d'arma da fuoco. I cavi allentati e le pericolose costruzioni in muratura della città telecinetica.

Like writing, paintings seem to hint at a topsy-turvy world in which, so to speak, time’s arrow moves the other way.

Maybe love will be like driving. When people move—when they travel—they look where they’ve come from, not where they’re going.

No longer can I bear with the ruined god, betrayed and beaten by his own magic. Calling on powers best left unsummoned, he took human beings apart—and then he put them back together again.

Probably human cruelty is fixed and eternal. Only styles change.

Senza mai guardare dove sta andando, la gente si muove attraverso qualcosa di predisposto, armata di bugie. Non vede l'ora di raggiungere luoghi dai quali è appena tornata, o si rammarica di aver fatto cose che non ha ancora fatto. Signori delle bugie e della spazzatura - di ogni sorta di merda e di spazzatura.


Lo prendiamo ancora in culo ogni mattina come tutti gli altri - ma in questi giorni la cosa finisce in un baleno.

So I am lonely, but not alone, like everybody else.

They're always looking forward to going places they're just coming back from, or regretting doing things they haven't yet done. They say hello when they mean goodbye.

Time, the human dimension, which makes us everything we are.

Tod ama le folle. Nelle folle puoi essere un capo senza che nessuno se ne accorga.


Con estasi e con sollievo si annulla nell'unità più grande, nella massa incandescente

To remember a day would take a day. To remember a year would take a year.