Martin Amis is perhaps the most gifted novelist of his generation. His prose refashions the English language into a lean and brillant instrument, dazzling readers with its energy and wit. His novels and short stories chart a world that is uniquely his: as John Updike puts it, 'Amis is trying to construct a large, reaching, ambitious set of books - ...
Martin Amis is perhaps the most gifted novelist of his generation. His prose refashions the English language into a lean and brillant instrument, dazzling readers with its energy and wit. His novels and short stories chart a world that is uniquely his: as John Updike puts it, 'Amis is trying to construct a large, reaching, ambitious set of books - trying to cover the world in fiction'. His celebrity as a novelist is also unique - few writers have attracted such obsessive media attention. In this much anticipated memoir, Amis writes with striking candour about his life and looks intimately at the process of writing itself. As the son of a famous writer, the great comic novelist Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis explores his relationship with his father and writes about the various crises of Kingsley's life, including the final crisis of his death. Amis also examines the case of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who disappeared without a trace in 1973 (a month after the publication of his first novel), and was exhumed in 1994 from the back garden of Frederick West, Britain's most prolific serial killer. Inevitably, too, the memoir records the changing literary scene in Britain and the United States, with many anecdotes and pen-portraits. The result is a remarkable work of autobiography - profound, witty,and ruthlessly honest. As a writer's self-portrait, it is destined to become a classic.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-05-22 The big book on this new publisher's first list is an occasionally combative but more often sweet-natured account of a literary life with an extraordinary father. Even by English standards Kingsley Amis, whom his son rightly sees as the finest comic novelist of his generation, was a highly eccentric figure: a man who loved women in the flesh as much as he appeared to disapprove of them in principle, an alcoholic who managed to create a large body of clear-headed work, a man who couldn't bear to be alone in a house at night, but whose mastery of invective was second to none?a difficult man to live with, it would seem, yet here recalled by Martin in the most fond and generous terms. The book revolves around a small group of seminal figures in Amis's life: his father; Saul Bellow, whom he seems to have adopted as a father figure; his young cousin Lucy Partington, who disappeared in 1973 and was later found to have been a victim of child-killer Frederick West; and longtime friend Christopher Hitchens. The controversial elements in his life aren't glossed over: the so-called cosmetic dentistry, about which the press so gloated at the time of Amis's parting from his previous agent for a larger book deal through Andrew Wylie, is shown to have been an attempt to correct, with extensive and painful surgery, a long-neglected condition of his teeth and jaw. His belated discovery of a previously unknown daughter is described with eloquent sweetness, and the account of the squabble with Kingsley's biographer, Eric Jacobs, over an account of the novelist's last days he gave to English newspapers is rendered more in sorrow than anger. There seems no doubt that a certain pugnaciousness in Amis has led to perplexingly hostile behavior toward him by the English press; it will be interesting to see how this candid, often funny and far from arrogant book will be treated there. B&W photos. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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