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18 October 1984
... This is the big one,’ I told myself nervously. ‘The MartinAmis interview. This is the one that could make you or break you.’ As I neared his front door my heart was in my mouth. No doubt he would have said it more cleverly. He would have said his heart was ...


Julian Loose

11 May 1995
The Information 
by Martin Amis.
Flamingo, 494 pp., £15.99, March 1995, 0 00 225356 9
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... Clearly, for MartinAmis, enough is nothing like enough. To read him is to discover an author as voracious as his characters: like Terry in Success, who specifies that ‘I want all that and I want all that. And I want all ...
20 September 1984
Money: A Suicide Note 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 352 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 224 02276 8
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... it’s money’s fault that this is what he spends his money on. It’s money’s fault that he hasn’t got anything better to do with his spare time. ‘The yobs are winning,’ said a character in MartinAmis’s Success, and one could almost take this as the ‘burden’ of his work so far. In earlier books, there have been yobs aplenty, and from the beginning Amis has scrutinised the species with ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Hatchet Jobs

11 September 2003
... MartinAmis doesn’t like journalists (if you didn’t know that already, you will now, having read Christopher Tayler’s review a few pages ago). This doesn’t stop journalists from loving MartinAmis. When the Man Booker Prize longlist was announced last month, reporters were delighted to see his name on it. Peel it back, and underneath appear the words: ‘For instant literary news, just add ...

As a returning lord

John Lanchester

7 May 1987
Einstein’s Monsters 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 127 pp., £5.95, April 1987, 0 224 02435 3
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... This comes from ‘Thinkability’, the introduction to Einstein’s Monsters, and is, in a way, a typical MartinAmis paragraph: Every morning, six days a week, I leave the house and drive a mile to the flat where I work. For seven or eight hours I am alone. Each time I hear a sudden whining in the air or one of ...
28 September 1989
London Fields 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 470 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 224 02609 7
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... Nuclear weapons, by their very existence, ‘distort all life and subvert all freedoms’, and even thinking or reading about them for too long may induce ‘nausea, clinical nausea’. So MartinAmis in ‘Thinkability’, the introduction to his collection of stories Einstein’s Monsters. The monsters are the weapons – but also ourselves, who are ‘not fully human, not for now’. Given such ...

Football Mad

Martin Amis

3 December 1981
The Soccer Tribe 
by Desmond Morris.
Cape, 320 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 9780224019354
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... gin palace, with tuxed pianist, brawny escort girls and many a spendthrift loudmouth yelling in the padded gloom. Who should be at the bar but Malcolm Allison (then manager of Crystal Palace) and Martin Chivers (then centre-forward with Spurs and England). Perched on stools, these big modern princes were talking intimately and earnestly, their heavy shoulders tensed over their drinks. Naturally I ...


Jenny Turner: Martin Amis

22 April 2010
The Pregnant Widow 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 470 pp., £18.99, February 2010, 978 0 224 07612 8
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... My feelings about MartinAmis are complicated, as is surely only proper. His latest novel is odd and discontinuous and in the end incoherent, with much stopping and starting, and echoing of previous novels, and quoting from ...


Frank Kermode

24 July 1986
The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 208 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 224 02385 3
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... MartinAmis begins this collection of ‘left-handed’ (i.e. journalistic) pieces by deploying two standard topoi. The first is the modesty topos, duly described by Curtius, though under the tendentious title ...


Adam Mars-Jones: Amis​ Resigns

21 June 2012
Lionel Asbo: State of England 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 288 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 224 09620 1
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... To rate his achievement at its least, MartinAmis has been for upwards of 25 years the By Appointment purveyor of classic sentences to his generation. In Money (1984) he achieved something that was as much of a breakthrough for our insular ...


Frank Kermode: The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 by Martin Amis.

10 May 2001
The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 506 pp., £20, April 2001, 0 224 05059 1
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... you want to write well is to avoid doing bad writing, used thinking. The more positive requirements can be left till later, if only a little later. Clichés are infallible symptoms of used thinking. MartinAmis has always wanted to be a good writer and he has got what he wanted. He early acquired a habit of vigilance, of stopping clichés at the frontier, and that habit couldn’t easily be broken. He ...

Cloud Cover

Adam Phillips

16 October 1997
Night Train 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 149 pp., £10.99, October 1997, 0 224 05018 4
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... For three words once, in 1987, MartinAmis sounded like D.H. Lawrence. ‘Art celebrates life,’ he wrote in his keenly anti-nuclear Introduction to Einstein’s Monsters, and then he went back to being himself: ‘and not the other thing ...

Love among the Cheeses

Lidija Haas: Life with Amis​ and Ayer

8 September 2011
The House in France: A Memoir 
by Gully Wells.
Bloomsbury, 307 pp., £16.99, June 2011, 978 1 4088 0809 2
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... What would it have been like to fall in love with the young MartinAmis, ‘the most fascinating man’ Gully Wells had ever met? ‘Only the most awful clichés,’ she tells us, ‘could possibly do justice to the way I felt.’ He was ‘very funny and very clever ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Amis​ Biz

19 April 2001
... MartinAmis’s memoir, Experience, was recently published in paperback. The banned ads have returned to the Underground, now that the offending image of the boy Amis ‘smoking’ in short trousers – never mind that the cigarette was unlit – has been overlaid by a minimalist design of red and white text stamped on a wash of black, intimating No Logo chic. In ...

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