LITERARY ROCK STAR –
May 20, 2023 – Witty, provocative, linguistically daring – and, in his heyday, a celebrity. Martin Amis was often described as the Mick Jagger of the literary world (and Carrie Bradshaw was seen reading his novels in Sex in the City).He was one of the key names on that era-defining first list of best British novelists under 40, famously chosen by Granta in 1983, and every decade since. Amis was by then already established as the enfant terrible of English literature. His semi-autobiographical first novel The Rachel Papers had propelled him onto the literary scene in 1973. It was verbally inventive, with an understanding of the frustrations of a certain type of clever (horny) young man. His second novel, Dead Babies, published in 1975, charted a weekend of debauchery and showcased his extraordinary, lacerating use of language. Back in the 1980s and 1990s Amis was never far from view – often quoted, often photographed. A literary rock star.His novels summed up eras, whether that was his satire of the excesses of the shiny, hollowness of 1980s Thatcherism in Money and London Fields, or his exploration of the Holocaust written backwards in Time’s Arrow about the life of a German doctor in Auschwitz. Amis had a truly recognisable voice. He was a British writer who bridged the gap between the somewhat cosy style of the English novel that preceded him and the expansive fiction of America. The response to his passing reinforces his stature as one of the great British novelists of his age.