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One of the difficulties of having a famous parent is attempting to compete with him in the same field.
Martin Amis, a British writer who died at the age of 73, not only matched his famed father, Kingsley, but rose beyond him for a while.
The acclaimed author’s 1984 novel “Money” became one of the works that summed up an age.
Even if we label it as evil, money doesn’t care; it only grows in power. A year after the publication of his work, he stated that it was “a fiction, an addiction, and a tacit conspiracy” in the publication “Novelists in Interview.”
To give it its full name, “Money: A Suicide Note” depicts self-serving avarice in Thatcherite Britain and the US under Ronald Reagan. It is recognised as one of the most piercing, perceptive, and bitingly humorous English-language books of the 20th century.
It follows John Self, “a semi-literate alcoholic,” a marketing executive with a taste for fast food, drugs, and pornography, as he hopscotches between London and New York in an effort to make a movie.
The humour is as darkly sardonic as anything his father wrote, yet the characters are on the verge of being caricatures despite the language being crisp and vivid.
It may be said that “Time’s Arrow” from 1991, which features a backwards narrative and reverse dialogue as it appears to be the autobiography of a Nazi concentration camp doctor, or “London Fields” from Amis’ 1989 novel, “London Fields,” are the two works of literary genius in his canon that stand head and shoulders above the others.
The Booker Prize shortlist for “Time’s Arrow” included Amis, who had never won the prize before.
The Holocaust-era death camp setting of British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation of his book “The Zone of Interest” is now winning awards at the Cannes Film Festival.
Amis once told the BBC, reflecting on his career, “The novel is a very intimate depiction of a writer.
“I am all over my books, even though I don’t write autobiographies.”
The second of Kingsley Amis’ three children with his first wife, Hilary Bardwell, Martin Louis Amis was born in Oxford on August 25, 1949.
When Martin was a young man, Kingsley was a well-known author who had just published the bestseller “Lucky Jim” in 1954. That led the family to Princeton, where he taught, in the US, where he deliberately cultivated the reputation of a caustic curmudgeon.
Martin Amis released “The Rachel Papers” in 1973, a year after graduating from Oxford University, as his debut book. Two years later, he released “Dead Babies,” which was his first foray into grim humour.
He had some minor success with “Success” and “Other People” in the years that followed before becoming successful in the mainstream with “Money,” “London Fields,” and “Time’s Arrow.”
His entry into the gossip columns came with the publication of “The Information,” the third “London” novel he wrote, in 1995.
Money was the cause.
Amis left his agent, Pat Kavanagh, the wife of one of his closest friends, fellow novelist Julian Barnes, at the same time as he received a £500,000 advance.
The two authors’ relationship suffered as a result.
At that point, Amis had already separated from his first wife Antonia Phillips, an academic from the United States with whom he had two boys, and had started seeing Isabel Fonseca, an heiress with whom he had conducted an interview for a British literary journal. 1996 saw their nuptials.
Even though he was facing accusations of misogyny and eventually Islamophobia—charges he vehemently denied—the 1990s saw Amis’ creative prowess at its height.
In 2018, he stated, “I consider myself to be a gynocrat in addition to a feminist. “I eagerly anticipate a utopia where women rule the world.”
His 2003 book “Yellow Dog” was highly panned, most notably by fellow British novelist, Tibor Fischer, who wrote in a newspaper review that it was “like your favourite uncle being caught in a school playground, masturbating.”
Two-daughter parents Amis and Fonseca made their home in Brooklyn, New York, where they paid $2.5 million for a home in 2010. In addition, they possessed residences in Uruguay and London.
In addition to a number of novels, Amis also penned a memoir, six non-fiction volumes, and two collections of short tales.
However, “Money” is considered by many readers to be his best book, probably mirroring Amis’s own opinions on the declining abilities of the more experienced author.
He stated, “Age waters the writer down,” in a 2009 newspaper review of a John Updike book.
Losing the ability to give your inventions life is the worst possible outcome.