The Meaning of ASBO

If you spent your weekend reading book reviews, you know that ASBO stands for Anti-Social Behavior Orders, which are issued in Great Britain for certain acts, like public drunkenness and urinating in public.  The titular character of Martin Amis’s new novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England (RH/Knopf) received his first one at age 3.

The New York Observer sums up the reactions of most reviewers; “A mediocre book by Martin Amis is better than most books by anyone else, but unfortunately, a bad book by Martin Amis is just as bad as any other bad book. And Lionel Asbo is a bad book.” Only the Kansas City Star dissents, calling it ” one of [Amis’s] most compulsively readable” novels.

Amis himself explained both the title and the subtitle in an interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

One Response to “The Meaning of ASBO”

  1. stephen Says:

    This piece hits the nail on the head. I think the book is very funny and, in a way, insightful. I think many reviewers might just not get it.