FEBRUARY 6

Upon publication of his last novel, The Information, a satire on the world of literary celebrity, Martin Amis was (coincidentally) close to being a literary superstar himself. The son of hugely respected writer Kingsley Amis, he’s achieved success with novels of dark complexity that explore class, sex, death, and failure with caustic and sophisticated humor. In London Fields, he wrought his most acidic comedy, positing that sex and violence were the materials of civilization’s vainglorious facade. His newest novella, Night Train, appears to be a departure. At first glance, it looks as if Amis has sold out, writing a typical crime novel about a female cop investigating a suicide in an unnamed American city. Amis doesn’t write ordinary mystery novels, however. Night Train becomes a meditation on suicide, an opportunity to distill the existential question to which his examinations of self-loathing and self-destruction naturally lead. Ask your own questions tonight at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s, 1200 F St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-3688. (John Dugan)