Information about the author.
In this collection of essays and reviews spanning twenty-five years of criticism, Martin Amis asserts the writer’s obligation to battle “not just cliches of the pen but cliches of the mind and cliches of the heart.” He marshals the forces of his infamous arsenal: his language, his wit, and his intolerance for suffering fools to review, consider, and in some cases, condemn. He takes to task the best and the brightest, including Cervantes and Milton, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and Norman Mailer and Elmore Leonard. From “Great Books” to “Some American Prose,” from “Popularity Contest” to the “Ultramundane,” Amis parses the classics and the unconventional with the subversive brilliance he brings to everything he touches.
He also skewers myths about masculinity, with great skepticism and more than a dash of nose-thumbing humor. Unflinchingly, he lambastes the “supercharged banality” of Elvis, the monumentally self-absorption of Andy Warhol, and American squeamishness…[more]
Perhaps the most gifted and innovative novelist of his generation, Martin Amis has been the object of obsessive media scrutiny for much of his career. In this much anticipated memoir, he writes with striking candor about his life and, in the process, gives us a clear view of the “geography of the writer’s mind”.
The son of 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 reflects on the life and legacy of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who disappeared without trace in 1973 and was exhumed nearly twenty years later from the back garden of Frederick West, Britain’s most prolific serial murderers.
Inevitably, too, the memoir records the changing literary scene in Britain and the United States, including a wealth of…[more]
There aren’t many ways for one writer to hurt another. Even if the literary world were as hopelessly corrupt as some people like to think it is, a writer cannot seriously damage a rival.
This is the unwelcome conclusion reached by Richard Tull, failed novelist, when he contemplates the agonizing success of his best friend (and worst enemy), Gwyn Barry. A scathing review, a scurrilous profile? Such things might hurt Gwyn Barry, but they wouldn’t hurt him. So Richard Tull is obliged to look elsewhere, to the weapons of the outside world—seductions and succubae, hoaxes, mind games, frame-ups, sabotage—until at last Richard finds what he is looking for: a true professional, someone who hurts people in exchange for cash.
In Time’s Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod’s life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense.