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THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners on Robert Darnton's "communications circuit."

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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 Story. 
 
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.