Martin Amis' continuing transformation into Kingsley Amis is a remarkable thing to follow.
And like his father he's living in the shadow of his early work. Maybe he has an 'Old Devils' in him at some point.
I'm always struck by his obsessive need to downgrade Orwell as an influence. In this interview, he goes on about Orwell's "non-genius," which is a pretty facile and indulgent way to rank an artist. Right? I mean, what's the point? Clive James does the same thing in Cultural Amnesia. The most vivid thing that Martin Amis conjures for me is an image of him and James and Rushdie drinking really expensive Scotch and talking about how Orwell wasn't an genius, but at least he got Stalinism, unlike such-and-such a leftist intellectual.
He's right about Coetzee, that's for sure.
Let's hope Martin doesn't wind up like Kingsley, living as a boarder in the house of his ex-wife and her husband. There's a quote I've never forgotten: When someone asked Kingsley if he regretted leaving Hilly (the first wife), he said "Only all the fucking time."
Could not disagree more. Kingsley Amis was an angry, bitter, mean, brilliant drunk. The son is just pompous and mean. Probably doesn't even drink as much.
On reflection, he is crazier, though. Did you see where he wants to bump off all the olds? In "euthanasia booths," apparently.
He's an asshole, sure, but he's written some amazing books. London Fields was brilliant, and The Information fucked me up so badly that it took me years to get over it (and it was one of the funniest books I've ever read). The review for this one sounds promising, too: Amis does Larkin? What's not to love?
I didn't care for 'London Fields' that much (though I haven't read it since it came out). He was trying way too hard to make the 'big statement' with that one that it sort of drowned under the weight of all it's parts. "Money" was better.
Not one of Martin Amis's books is fit to shine the shoes of even One Fat Englishman, let alone Lucky Jim or The Old Devils.
I'd like to see a Martin Amis, Get A Life! hashtag.
"Experience" irreparably damaged him for me. I was surprised that here, he seemed at once both less of a dick and much spacier. What was all that sophomore bong-haze about dark matter?
But yeah, the whole arc of his starting out with such a fresh voice, and then falling more and more under his father's shadow–it's awfully sad.
Could someone please tell me what an "urka" is? As in MA's quip
"…and I have to say she looked like an urka: like a male urka. Really butch."
Google, oddly, was no help. Is it a British thing, as in "I haven't glassed an urka in donkeys"?
Russian slang for common criminal. He's showing off, you see, and at the same time assuming we've all read his latest stuff. Which leaves a lot of hostages to fortune.
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