chapter  12
Working with sexism
What can feminist text analysis do?
BySara Mills
Pages 14

In an introductory note to his novel London Fields (1989), Martin Amis states that he considered The Murderee as a possible title for the novel before rejecting it for London Fields. The murderee is Nicola Six, who has the power of seeing into the future. She knows-and the reader knows-that she is going to be killed, though Amis misleads us about who the murderer is, and only reveals it to us in the surprise ending. In the meantime, Nicola, the ‘love actress’ (201), the ‘performing artist’ (202), is playing tricks on the two male protagonists, Keith Talent and Guy Clinch. There is a voyeuristic element about the way she drives Guy mad with desire by refusing to give herself to him, or rather giving herself to him literally inch by inch. This prolonged striptease or ‘marathon seduction’ (452) has the effect of delayed fulfilment for the male reader, with Nicola as a ‘male fantasy figure’ (260), an instrument for imaginary gratification. For the female reader, however, all this may well be-in the words of Amis’s narrator himself-a ‘thesaurus of miserable clichés’ (325) and crude sexist stereotypes.