Amis 2.0: He Tries Harder


Today is author Martin Amis' birthday (happy b-day, Martin!). And while I'd love to write something glorifying his life and times, I'm shamefully ignorant on the subject. In fact, there's an old Woody Allen bit where he says, "I'd love to end this show on a positive note... but I don't have one. Would you settle for two negative notes?" So, it's in exactly that spirit that I'm giving you the only gossip I really know about Martin Amis (all bad), culled directly from our book Forbidden Knowledge.

Amis vs. Amis You'd think that the father-and-son dynamic duo of contemporary Brit lit would stand by one another, but Kingsley Amis (1922"“1995) was awfully hard on his son Martin (1949"“). Kingsley, most famous for Lucky Jim, once told The Guardian, "If I was reviewing Martin under a pseudonym, I would say he works too hard and it shows." (Kingsley received his own bad reviews—the novelist Robertson Davies called his work "an awful bore.") But Kingsley's critique was nothing compared to attacks on Martin since. In one of the snarkiest reviews of all time, author Tibor Fischer wrote that reading Martin Amis's Yellow Dog (2003) was akin to "your favorite uncle being caught in the school playground, masturbating." Ouch! Martin responded by calling Fischer "a wretch." So much for British politeness.

Of course, if you're looking for more complaints from the cantankerous Sir Kingsley, just read the first few paragraphs of Martin's Wikipedia bio. It only makes me want to read Money that much more!