This is a novel about what it feels like when life is turning. At the beginning Richard turns 40 and it feels like a steak turning and sizzling on hot pan of one's life.
The information seems to symbolise the second coming of age - mid-life crisis which manifests itself in the realisation of one's own insignificance.
Amis is a true descendant of Joyce and Nabokov in the sense of language connoisseurs.
The character of Richard is incredibly real, while the psychology of other characters is rather schematic, as if they were just serving the purpose of prompt in Richard's one man show.
He has a few interesting observations about the ambience of railway stations, ariports and other centres of modern transport:
p. 349 Outside (not in the interiors) though the landscape insisted on incompletion. The empty crew buses and stationary forklifts, the prefabricated portkabins. And then headless trucks and cabless wheelsets, staricases pointing upwards but leading nowhere, the joints of amputated corridors, stranded on the tarmac, both ends leading nowhere, insisting on the incomplete.
p. 38 Then a there it crystallized: the task. A literary endeavour, a quest, an exaltation - one to which he could sternly commit all his passion and his power.
He was going to fuck Gwyn up.
Outside there hung the crescent moon. It looked like Punch. But where was Judy?
Fly a mile east in our weep ship to the spires of Holland Park ... This is the window to the master bedroom, where the master sleeps. I'm not going in there - not yet. So I don't know what his bed smells of, and I don't know if the cries in the night.
As Richard does.
Why do the men cry? Because of fights and feats and marathon preferment, because they want their mothers, because they are blind in time, because of all the hard-ons they have to whistle up out of the thin blue yonder, because of all that men have done. Because they can't be happy or sad any more - only smashed or nuts. And because they don't know how to do it when they're awake.
And then there is the information which comes at night.
p.40 Then next day it was his turn: Richard turned forty. Turned is right. Like a half cooked steak, like a wired cop, like an old leaf, like milk, Richard tuned. And nothing changed he was still a wreck.
p.150 At night when he prepared to enter the forests of sleep and temptation, things looked like two things: The ironing-board was a deck-chair and the mirror was a standing pool. He was being informed - the information came at night, to inhume him.