In this remarkable work of autobiography, the son of the great comic novelist Kingsley Amis explores his relationship with his father and writes about the various crises of Kingsley's life, including the final one of his death. Amis also reflects on the life and legacy of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who disappeared without trace in 1973 and was exhumed twenty years later from the basement of Frederick West, one of Britain's most prolific serial murderers.
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(198mm x 129mm x 26mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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UK Kirkus Review »
Martin Amis is one of the most widely written-about of contemporary novelists, admired and hated in almost equal measure, and therefore his own account of his relationship with his father and an often hostile media, the real story behind his expensive dentistry and the highly-publicised split with Julian Barnes, his reaction to the murder of his cousin Lucy Partington by Fred West and his first meeting with his daughter Delilah Seale at the age of nineteen make for fascinating reading. This is, however, not a conventional autobiography, but a series of intricately-layered stream of consciousness memories of the experiences which have shaped his life and writings. Though often clever, the narrative structure with its innumerable digressions and footnotes can be confusing, and conceals Amis's lack of candour about such subjects as his marriages and why he apparently showed no interest in a daughter of whose existence he had known for years. The comments on his great literary influence Saul Bellow, on Philip Larkin and on contemporary writers such as Salman Rushdie are always stimulating but never fully developed, and really the best and most honest parts are about his relationship with his father Kingsley Amis, and his last days. Indeed, it is Kingsley Amis rather than his arrogant, pompous and chippy son who is the hero of this book. This is not the 'ruthlessly honest' memoir of the blurb exploring 'the geography of the writer's mind', but another exercise in fiction, one where Amis's attributes as a novelist - the command of language, the toying with ideas, the artifice - are on full display. Review by Andrew Lownie (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Martin Amis
Martin Amis is the author of twelve previous novels, the memoir Experience, two collections of stories and six collections of non-fiction, most recently The Second Plane. He lives in New York.