In his Afterword Amis pays tribute to a paragraph by Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five where a character watches a backwards-run film of the American planes scooping up bombs from Dresden and miraculously repairing the ruined city, before the bombs are sent back to a factory where all the dangerous contents of their cylinders are separated into harmless minerals. Amis here uses Vonnegut's ingenious tactic of running everything backwards to investigate the holocaust and the men who carried it out. You might say Amis's narrator suffers from two conditions which regularly afflict casualties of war and perpetrators of unspeakable acts - dissociative amnesia and split personality disorder. The novel begins with an ageing doctor in New York stumbling backwards from a heart attack. The doctor is the host of our bewildered narrator who discovering no inner life in the doctor only has his dreams to provide clues for what's in store for him. The backwards drift of the narrative, ingeniously sustained, provides lots of fabulous comedy. Churchgoers pocketing money from the collection box; garbage crews strewing rubbish all over the city's pristine streets; pigeons spitting out crumbs for a forsaken individual who takes them home and reconstitutes them into slices of bread. It's a novel that keeps your mind very active in attempts to re-evaluate so many casual things we do every day. Sexual relationships seen backwards also provide some laughs together with the odd disarming insight.I would have liked to have read this not knowing we're eventually going to find ourselves in Auschwitz (the publishers chose clumsily to give away this twist in the blurb no doubt for commercial reasons.) Of course, we now know our doctor is going to heal the Jews and reunite them with their families. It sometimes makes for an uncomfortable reading experience being made to laugh at what happened at Auschwitz but what it does do very powerfully is evoke the idealistic insanity greasing the wheels of the chilling efficiency of the Nazi killing machine. Certainly one thing it does is dump a pie in the face of every loony holocaust denier. I recently read The Sense of an Ending which, broadly speaking, was about remorse. Remorse, one might say, is a dead end. The end of the line. The chilling grey day after Judgement day. Martin Amis here shows us the lengths the human brain will go to avoid remorse. 4+ stars.