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Submitted Literature

'Insight at Flame Lake'. In Einstein's Monsters

By Martin Amis


Martin Amis's short story is written in the form of alternating diaries - Dan, a young man with early onset psychosis, and his uncle who is caring for him during the summer.  A fantastic exploration of notions of personal insight and theoretical insight – and the disparity between the two.

Key Themes:

  • Childhood / Adolescence
  • Isolation
  • Revealing Reads
  • Schizophrenia

Significant Quotes / Pages

59 – “I can talk to him now about his problem…the problem he has when relating to reality”

61-2 – Dan demonstrates theoretical insight into the symptoms of schizophrenia – 1) “Deviant pattern of receptor preferences” 2) “Repetitive and stereotyped behavioural patterns” 3) “Faulty depth perception … to her spatial relations are unstable and contingent” 4) “motor-normalcy loss and abrupt personality mutations” then follows with “time disperception, interprets humour as insult, excessive affection, hypomania”. 

Reference: Martin, Amis. 1987. 'Insight at Flame Lake'. In Einstein's Monsters. London: Vintage, 2003


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Tuesday 27th January 2009