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Martin Amis

Biography

What to do about Martin? Frankly, he shouldn’t be here because he isn’t really a very good writer and, in fifty years, he will only be a footnote to English literary history. So what’s the secret of his success? It’s a combination of things. Firstly, there is Daddy who had little literary talent, though he did produce one mildly interesting work and was vaguely known to the public, both for his middlebrow novels and his extramural drinking and marital problems. Secondly, there are really very few good English novelists and Amis fils looks as though he ought to be good and therefore far too many people (some, at least, who should know better) think he is. Thirdly, he is visible. He writes for a variety of publications, including leading newspapers such as The Observer. He also appears in a variety of publications – because of his financial demands, his marital shenanigans, his fight with his father and his friends, even because of his dental work! In short he is the fodder of gossip columns and the nearest thing to a pop star or a football player England has in the field of literature. And that sells books. Finally, he is hailed as a postmodernist which gives him all sorts of cachet with the literary and academic elite. See, for example, The Martin Amis Web. Actually, he isn’t a postmodernist. He is a Brit trying to write like an American and that makes the experts think he is a postmodernist.

So where does that leave us with Amis? I have covered Money: A Suicide Note and London Fields, despite the fact that both read like watered down early 1980s Norman Mailer (with, perhaps, a bit of Elmore Leonard thrown in) but I really do not think that these are anywhere near as great as some people make them out to be. No doubt we will have to put up with him and his antics for some time to come but there are many better writers to read. And if you want to know more about him, many of the sites below will help you. He was born in 1949, son of Kingsley Amis. He read English at Oxford and worked for the Times Literary Supplement and New Statesman as a literary critic. He had his teeth fixed (expensively, in the USA), trashed Katie Price aka Jordan, a woman of similar talent to his own, and argued with his father. He also wrote some books.

Books about Martin Amis

Richard Bradford: Martin Amis: The Biography

Other links

The Martin Amis Web (comprehensive site with lots of links)
Martin Amis
Martin Amis
Martin Amis
Martin Amis
Martin Amis
Martin Amis
Martin Amis: Profile
The Martin Amis Experience
Dear Martin, Yours Eric (Amis, his father and why he is a little shit)
Articles about Martin Amis from the New York Times
Martin Amis: the sexual revolution killed my sister Sally
‘She’s just two bags of silicone’: Martin Amis attacks fellow author Katie Price
Fear and Loathing (Amis on September 11)
Kingsley Amis and Martin Amis too
The Amis Inheritance (about Kingsley and Martin)
Interview
Interview
Interview
Interview
Interview
Interview
Interview
Interview
Interview

Bibliography

1973 The Rachel Papers (novel)
1975 Dead Babies (novel)
1977 Dark Secrets
1978 Success (novel)
1982 Other People: A Mystery Story (novel)
1982 Invasion of the Space Invaders (on video arcade games)
1984 Money: A Suicide Note (novel)
1986 The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America
1987 Einstein’s Monsters (stories)
1989 London Fields
1991 Time’s Arrow (novel)
1993 Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other Excursions
1994 Two Stories (stories)
1995 God’s Dice (stories)
1995 The Information (novel)
1997 Night Train (novel)
1998 Heavy Water and Other Stories (stories)
1999 Amis Omnibus (stories)
2000 The Fiction of Martin Amis (stories)
2000 Experience
2001 The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews, 1971-2000
2002 Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million (about Stalin)
2003 Yellow Dog (novel)
2004 Vintage Amis (stories)
2006 House of Meetings (novel)
2008 The Second Plane: September 11: Terror and Boredom
2010 The Pregnant Widow (novel)
2012 Lionel Asbo (novel)
2014 The Zone of Interest (novel)
2017 The Rub of Time (criticism)