Dec 13, 2020
Martin Amis was born in
Oxford in 1949 and is a British novelist, essayist, and memoirist -
all of whom show up to contribute to his latest novel, Inside
As it happens I read
Lolita in tandem with Inside Story, so the
front-end of our conversation is laden with nasty
Nabokovian-related questions. Since Vladimir, along with Saul
Bellow, has heavily influenced Martin's writing over the years, I
decided this was fair game.
Amis is best known for his novels
Money (1984) and London Fields (1989). He
received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoir
Experience and has been nominated for the Booker Prize
twice (shortlist for Time's Arrow and longlist for
Yellow Dog). He served as Professor of Creative Writing at
the University of Manchester until 2011, and is considered one of
the most influential novelists of our times.
We met via Zoom to talk about everything
he throws into this novel, plus the way he frames it. Nabokov looms
large, as I say, as does Christopher Hitchens, and, towards the
end, ketchup and relish. Like many of Amis's other works,
Inside Story contains plenty of very good laughs - one
pretty well every 3-4 pages (in between, I frequently caught myself
wearing a wide smirk). There's a lot to be said for this, and for
some genuinely beautiful writing in the novel, particularly about
Israel; plus there's a fair amount of engaging literary criticism.
In short, it's well worth spending time with this excellent
hybrid; as, I hope you'll agree, it is with this interview...
It starts mid-sentence, with the two of
us talking about Chip Kidd's dust jacket design.