Is there anything that Martin Amis can't write about? In this virtuosic, career-spanning collection he takes on James Joyce and Elvis Presley, Nabokov and English football, Jane Austen and Penthouse Forum, William Burroughs and Hillary Clinton. But above all, Amis is concerned with literature, and with the deadly cliches-not only of the pen, but of the mind and the heart.
In The War Against Cliché, Amis serves up fresh assessments of the classics and plucks neglected masterpieces off their dusty shelves. He tilts with Cervantes, Dickens and Milton, celebrates Bellow, Updike and Elmore Leonard, and deflates some of the most bloated reputations of the past three decades. On every page Amis writes with jaw-dropping felicity, wit, and a subversive brilliance that sheds new light on everything he touches.
When 'dream husband' Xan Meo is vengefully assaulted in the garden of a London pub, he suffers head-injury, and personality-change. Like a spiritual convert, the familial paragon becomes an anti-husband, an anti-father. He submits to an alien moral system - one among many to be found in these pages. We are introduced to the inverted worlds of the 'yellow' journalist, Clint Smoker; the high priest of hardmen, Joseph Andrews; the porno tycoon, Cora Susan; and Royce Traynor, the corpse in the hold of the stricken airliner, apparently determined, even in death, to bring down the plane that carries his spouse. Meanwhile, we explore the entanglements of Henry England: his incapacitated wife, Pamela; his Chinese mistress, He Zizhen; his fifteen-year-old daughter, Victoria, the victim of a filmed 'intrusion' which rivets the world - because she is the future Queen of England, and her father, Henry IX, is its King.
Koba the Dread is the successor to Amis's celebrated memoir, Experience. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by Western intellectuals. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible.
The author's father, Kingsley Amis, was 'a Comintern dogsbody' (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and later in life his closest friend, was Robert Conquest, whose book The Great Terror was second only to Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago in undermining the USSR. Amis's remarkable memoir explores these connections.
Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere 'statistic'. Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin's aphorism.
Martin Amis is one of the most gifted and innovative writers of our time. With Experience, he discloses a private life every bit as unique and fascinating as his bestselling novels.
The son of the great comic novelist Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis explores his relationship with this father and writes about the various crises of Kingsley's life. He also examines the life and legacy of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who was abducted and murdered by one of Britain's most notorious serial killers. Experience also deconstructs the changing literary scene, including Amis' portraits of Saul Bellow, Salman Rushdie, Allan Bloom, Philip Larkin, and Robert Graves, among others. Not since Nabokov's Speak, Memory has such an implausible life been recorded by such an inimitable talent. Profound, witty, and ruthlessly honest, Experience is a literary event.
The definitive collection of essays and reportage written during the past thirty years from one of most provocative and widely read writers--with new commentary by the author.
For more than thirty years, Martin Amis has turned his keen intellect and unrivaled prose loose on an astonishing range of topics--politics, sports, celebrity, America, and, of course, literature. Now, at last, these incomparable essays have been gathered together. Here is Amis at the 2011 GOP Iowa Caucus, where, squeezed between "windbreakers and woolly hats," he pores over The Ron Paul Family Cookbook and laments the absence of "our Banquo," Herman Cain. He writes about finally confronting the effects of aging on his athletic prowess. He revisits, time and time again, the worlds of Bellow and Nabokov, his "twin peaks," masters who have obsessed and inspired him. Brilliant, incisive, and savagely funny, The Rub of Time is a vital addition to any Amis fan's bookshelf, and the perfect primer for readers discovering his fierce and tremendous journalistic talents for the first time.