The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

The Rachel Papers

In his uproarious first novel Martin Amis, author of the bestselling London Fields, gave us one of the most noxiously believable -- and curiously touching -- adolescents ever to sniffle and lust his way through the pages of contemporary fiction. On the brink of twenty, Charles High-way preps desultorily for Oxford, cheerfully loathes his father, and meticulously plots the seduction of a girl named Rachel -- a girl who sorely tests the mettle of h...

Details The Rachel Papers

TitleThe Rachel Papers
Release DateSep 29th, 1992
GenreFiction, Novels, Contemporary, Literature

Reviews The Rachel Papers

  • Anthony Vacca
    Vacca’s Complaint:I am inconsolably jealous when I consider that Martin Amis published his first book at 24 and had actually done the writing at least a year before, also I am disgusted with how much talent and confidence the bastard already had at my age. Here I am approaching my first quarter of a century and I have no first novel. I have no fame. I’m not deflecting pertinent questions from feminist reviewers by flirting with them. I have a...
  • Vanessa
    3.5 Often crude and rude but highly entertaining if not easily offended. The main thing I took from this book is Martin Amis has a unique way with words. I also learnt that teenage boys are extremely gross. He does well to capture the selfishness and insecurities of adolescence, if it wasn’t as funny as it was this book would have been so cringeworthy.
  • Jonfaith
    If Philip Roth is correct and life is misunderstanding people, then I remain awed by the riddle which is Martin Amis. His first novel The Rachel Papers injects self-awareness into satire, leaking a fecund foam which changes everything about how we regard the way we live now. The insecurity of adolescence is illustrated by our protagonist, one Charles Highway, who diagrams said angst and provides cross-references from the literary canon. One can i...
  • lorinbocol
    sono più che mai convinta che un charles highway nella vita andrebbe frequentato almeno un po'. e proprio in virtù delle di lui smisurate cadute di stile, degli inciampi, delle fobie. delle gambe storte, della condotta variamente laida e - peggio che mai - della voce stridula e nasale. perché fatti salvi taluni repentini moti di disappunto, ci si divertirebbe un tot.(forse con ragazze perbene si intendono semplicemente quelle a cui son toccati...
  • Clare
    This is a bit of a curate's egg of a reading experience. I began finding Charles Highway's escapades mildly amusing, took a detour into down and out hatred of vacuous Rachel and odious Charles and ended up in a state of turbulent hilarity. This is basically a book about being a teenage boy - obsessed with phlegm, spunk and pulling girls. At times Highway is intensly dislikeable - like wading through a teenage boy's room in fact - but he is undeni...
  • Ailsa
    Hell yeah.. . . "I took Rachel to a French film, La Rupture, as an oblique way of indicating to her how good in bed I was going to turn out to be." 109"University challenge: the contestants seemed to be alarmingly well informed but, on the other hand, reassuringly hideous." 134
  • Eleni
    I haven't read other Martin Amis novels. I have read analyses about Martin Amis, I have read interviews of Martin Amis and I have read raving reviews of OTHER novels of Martin Amis and I believe everybody who praises his talent. Unfortunately I should have also believed the people who praise his talent and who warned me not to choose The Rachel Papers as an introduction to his work, on the grounds that – surprisingly enough - it sucks. I didn...
  • Rob Walter
    I've given up trying to defend Martin Amis books. I tend to agree with every criticism that people offer, but to me they've missed the point. He's so wonderful to read because he has more technical mastery than any writer of the last fifty years that I've read. He can make his prose, and consequently his characters, do absolutely anything he likes.As this is his first novel the pyrotechnics are somewhat muted, making it probably one of his more a...
  • Faye
    Read: April 2017I decided to read The Rachel Papers after reading the amazing Time's Arrow last year and I cannot believe these two books were written by the same author. I wrote a review of Time's Arrow at the time which showed how much I loved it and I guess I expected this book to be of a similar calibre but it was nowhere near as good.The protagonist here is Charles, who is trying too hard to be a 'lovable rogue' sort of character, but really...
  • Marcello S
    La domanda qui è: io cosa facevo a 24 anni? (…)Di sicuro non mettevo parole una dietro l’altra con lo stile navigato di Amis.Che, ve lo devo dire, scrive da dio.Questa è la storia di Charles, uno di quei ventenni che la sanno lunga. Un po’ sbruffone e un po’ problematico.Che ti fa sorridere e allo stesso tempo lo odi. Che gli daresti una testata sui denti ma alla fine gli vuoi bene.Ci sono le ragazze (Gloria e, soprattutto, Rachel), qua...
  • Tim
    This is Amis’ first novel, written when he was in his early twenties. I greatly enjoyed his middle period but gave up on him after reading a couple of his more recent novels – Yellow Dog and House of Meetings. Then I came across this in the garden shed and realised I’d never read it…Martin Amis has a talent for creating obnoxious characters and the narrator of The Rachel Papers, Charles Highway, certainly fits this bill. Except, unlike in...
  • Mircalla64
    the spocchia papersCharles è un insopportabile egocentrico stronzetto inglese, manca poco ai suoi vent'anni e, data l'immaturità che contraddistingue l'età in questione, eccolo lanciarsi nel racconto dei suoi pensieri ossessivo/compulsivi e delle sue manie di controllo:è un ragazzetto come tanti, ma si crede speciale il caro Charles, che serba con grandiosa spocchia ogni suo pensiero per tramandarlo ai posteri, o semplicemente per darsi all'o...
  • Tony
    A good little tale but I couldn’t shake the idea that he was trying to borrow his father’s shoes here. Worth a read though!
  • Jeremy
    It was about time, I decided, that I paid some attention to the work of Martin Amis. After all he’s a significant figure in literature; named one the fifty greatest British writers since 1945, son of the late Kingsley Amis, friend of the late Christopher Hitchens and writer of lauded novels and non-fiction. Just as well I’d bought The Rachel Papers a few years ago when I was spending money on novels in an irresponsible fashion. In any case, i...
  • Hugo Emanuel
    Martin Amis é um escritor sobre quem tenho opiniões contraditórias. Acho a sua prosa enérgica e hilariante; seduzem-me os temas que ele aborda e tramas dos seus romances. No entanto, nunca li um único dos seus romances que não achasse estar carregado de defeitos, não obstante as suas óbvias virtudes – muitas das quais são constantemente salientadas em entrevistas e declarações emitidas pelo próprio. Sim, os seus livros são perversa...
  • christa
    Charles Highway is a Rick Ocasek-looking, luggie horking, father-hating-for-unspecified-reasons, asthmatic on the cusp of his 20th birthday, which he is taking, like most things, very seriously. He spends the hour leading up to midnight of the big day, which he refers to as the end of his youth, revisiting his relationship with Rachel. This is easy, as Charles Highway has kept detailed notes on their time together, all while simultaneously creati...
  • Callie
    So I had a really difficult time finishing this book. Several times I wanted to quit reading it, but I honestly hate stopping a book when I'm half way through. I think my big mistake with this one was seeing the terribly made 80's film adaptation prior to reading the book. Man, was that one terrible film.Second mistake, was that I couldn't stand the main character, Charles Highway, rather I LOATHED him. What a horribly self-centered, obnoxious, w...
  • Myfanwy
    Should this be renamed? I'm thinking Portrait of the Artist as a Young Horny Man? Charles Highway is an absolute little shit and yet he is endearing and I enjoyed my time with him (even when it was gross). Everything he does, he does for experience and for an opportunity to write about it. At least this is what he tells himself. I would guess, too, that everything he does, he does in hopes of feeling real emotion, thereby breaks the boundaries of...
  • David
    I really enjoyed this at the start. Charles was unsuccessful with girls and didn't seem to be the person anyone would fall in love with ... and I laughed with him (not at him) on the DLR to work. There was even a chance (a small chance, I'm sure) that he wasn't going to get in to Oxford. Or at least that we weren't to be there to witness his success. But then everyone started falling in love with him and he got in to Oxford ... and I went right o...
  • Troy Parfitt
    The Rachel Papers was my first Martin Amis novel and I liked it enough that I would read Amis again, most definitely. People say his subsequent efforts, such as Money and London Fields, are brilliant, and based on this book – published (if my math is right) when the author was 24 – I imagine they are. What a talent to write that well at that age. In terms of style and ability, it reads like a novel penned by someone twice as old. The story (a...
  • Ruzz
    I'm without historical context for why this short novel should sit somewhere in my heart. I hear it was funny at some point. then maybe too cynical at another. It felt to me, at times, like reading a bright young whipper snapper's weblog. Nothing at all wrong with that, just not compelling in any way. amis' writing is always sharp and loaded with extra meanings and his bluntness about how men think about some things must have been a bit of a slap...
  • Toby
    For a book about a teenager supposedly coming of age, written nigh on 40 years ago and read by me rapidly approaching my 30th birthday; this was possibly not the best combination to get the most from the controversial debut novel from famed misogynist Martin Amis. The only thing worse could possibly have been if I were female I suppose.A quite enjoyable read but not as depraved or as entertaining as I had been previously led to believe. Charles H...
  • Punk
    Fiction. Self-indulgent, myopic, teenage fiction. I like Amis, but not his narrator. Charles Highway is a spoiled 19-year-old who considers himself an intellectual and tends towards something he identifies as "self-infatuation" but makes no move to resist. I couldn't handle him and nearly threw this book down twice for every page I read.
  • Cailin Deery
    The Rachel Papers is hilarious, while shamelessly trashy and egomaniacal. After I got over my misgivings, it was hugely entertaining. I'd never read anything by Amis and impulsively picked this up to read in Oxford & London (the setting switches back and forth between the two cities) with little other rationalization. The Rachel Papers is Amis' first book, penned at 24, and I like what another reviewer said - it's like Catcher in the Rye if Holde...
  • Justin Evans
    Is this great literature? No. But I did really like it. It should sit next to Rabbit, Run and Portnoy's Complaint, but with the benefit of being much, much better written than the first, and more interesting than the second. Also, compared to 'Dead Babies,' which was my first M. Amis read, this is much less datedly 'shocking.' Reading DB was a bit like listening to a teenager with green-dyed hair talking about how much she's subverting Them. Kind...
  • Alexander
    One of the troubles with being over-articulate, with having a vocabulary more refined than your emotions, is that every turn in the conversation, every switch of posture, opens up an estate of verbal avenues with a myriad side-turnings and cul-de-sacs—and there are no signposts but your own sincerity and good taste, and I’ve never had much of either. Fuck Holden Caulfield. Granted, I read Salinger's tripe at the scamp age of 12, but even then...
  • Sabra Embury
    For a first novel (published in 1973) about a lascivious 19-going-on-20 year-old guy named Charles Highway, obsessed in the pursuit of a girl named Rachel, Amis' linguistic spins are not only unique but timelessly charming:My family lives in Oxford [...] Furthermore, I dislike the town. Sorry: too many butterfly trendies, upper-class cunts, regional yobs with faces like gravy dinners. And the streets are so affectedly narrow. [p.6]andTake a look ...
  • R.
    Painfully realistic at points; so much so, that I envision Martin Amis as Charles Highway. But not young Martin Amis. The present-day Martin Amis. Which makes it kind of a Lolita experience; a middle-aged guy trying to seduce a young lady before his __th/__nd/__rd birthday. The text is kind enough to remind me, without elegant variation, that Charles is 19, and tomorrow he'll be 20. When this happens, the prop handlers slop a mop-top on 55-year-o...
  • Robert
    Martin Amis' first novel is very good. In fact if it wasn't for the polysyllabic language the plot could easily pass off as a YA novel.Charles Highway has one aim. To lose his virginity before he goes to college. His target is Rachel. who he keeps a file on documenting his attempts to seduce her. Rachel is also seeing an American exchange student so Charles' efforts to sleep with her increase.Yes on the outlook this does sound like a sexist novel...