He’s famous for his sharp, inventive prose and his barbed public comments. The British author’s next novel, about a violent criminal who wins the lottery, will be published this summer.
By Cynthia Haven
Martin Amis is celebrated as one of the leading writers in English today. In Britain, he is almost as famous for his pyrotechnic quips and spats, which regularly launch front-page media frenzies.
He will give a reading at Stanford at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 7, in Cemex Auditorium in the Knight Management Center. Amis will also hold an 11 a.m. colloquium the same day in the Terrace Room of Margaret Jacks Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.
Amis has written a dozen novels, as well as a memoir, two collections of stories and six nonfiction works. His next book, Lionel Asbo: State of England, a satirical stab at England through the story of a violent criminal who wins the lottery, will be published by Knopf this summer.
Amis was foremost in a circle of writers who rose to prominence in the 1970s, including the late Christopher Hitchens, Clive James, Julian Barnes, James Fenton, Craig Raine and Ian McEwan. He has had high-voltage quarrels with at least two of those figures. The one with best chum Hitchens healed seamlessly: "My friendship with the Hitch has always been perfectly cloudless. It is a love whose month is ever May," he said in an.
He is also famous for being one half of an unusual team, a hereditary novelist. His father, Sir Kingsley Amis, has been called the finest English comic novelist of the postwar era; he wrote 20 novels, six collections of poetry, and other works.
The elder Amis, who died in 1995, was also his son’s earliest critic, lamenting the "terrible compulsive vividness in his style."
Martin Amis recalled to the New York Times, "He was always saying, ’I think you need more sentences like ’He put down his drink, got up and left the room,’ and I thought you needed rather fewer of them."
As a writer, Amis is known for his lifelong love affair with the English sentence, which he calls "a basic rhythm from which the writer is free to glance off in unexpected directions."