Books: A Good Man Goes Bad

In his darkly hilarious Yellow Dog, Martin Amis turns a mousy husband into a vicious, violent brute

Martin Amis wants a vodka Negroni. It is--for the record--a drink composed of vodka, Campari and sweet vermouth, but the waitress at this rather expensive New York City hotel bar has never heard of it. Meanwhile, a man in a large and loudly beeping truck is trying--over the course of five deafening minutes--to parallel park in the spot right next to Amis' sidewalk table. Amis, 54, observes the scene coolly, a small, neat man, the picture of amused British resignation. If nothing else, he can take satisfaction in the fact that the whole scene, a cosmic conjunction of petty annoyances, is...

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