From Robert Fulford, “How Martin Amis puts the personal in personal essay“, National Post, December 9, 2017, p. WP2, in relation to Martin Amis, The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump. Essays and Reportage, 1986-2016.

We can learn a great deal about a chosen topic when we read [Martin Amis], but we also learn something about the author–about his life as a novelist, about his attitude to children, about his friends and enemies and of course about his father, the brilliant comic novelist Kingsley Amis

Consider his treatment of Philip Larkin, who was Kingsley Amis’ best friend and whose poetry Martin believes to be more than memorable because it’s “instantly forgettable”. Larkin was an odd duck, the loving son of a British Nazi who inherited his dad’s racism. He lived his whole life alone because he couldn’t get along with any human. We learn that Larkin had a long-time girlfriend he found painfully tiring but never managed to escape. He thought he might write a novel about her sheer awfulness but felt that even he could not do anything that cruel. Instead, he helped Kingsley Amis deploy that woman as the boring, self-righteous schemer in his most successful novel, Lucky Jim.


About brucelarochelle
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