This remarkably tedious new novel by Martin Amis is a sort of messy improvisation on Boccaccio's 14th-century collection of tales known as "The Decameron," which concerned a group of young people spending an interlude together in an Italian villa and explored the varieties and disappointments of love. Jane Smiley tried something similar in her tiresome 2007 novel, "Ten Days in the Hills," and in "The Pregnant Widow," Mr. Amis makes many of the same mistakes she did -- most notably, assuming that readers will be interested in a bunch of spoiled, self-absorbed twits, who natter on endlessly about their desires and resentments and body parts.
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