Morten Høi Jensen on Martin Amis

Irving Howe wrote of Saul Bellow’s prose that it was sometimes “strongly anti-literary,” that it tried to “break away from the stateliness of the literary sentence.” Amis, in turn, credited Bellow (his literary mentor and surrogate father) with attempting to find a voice appropriate to the twentieth century, and his own fiction is an extension of this ambition. In London Fields the writer-narrator Samson Young muses that, “perhaps because of their addiction to form, writers always lag behind the contemporary formlessness. They write about an old reality, in a language that’s even older.” Contrary to this tendency, Amis risks form in the pursuit of a language that mirrors the contemporary formlessness. His best novels — Money, London Fields, The Information — are oddly shaped and (with the exception of the nearly-perfect Money) very uneven. But unlike your run-of-the-mill Booker contenders, routinely jettisoning their cargos of contemporary speech in order to stay afloat on a sea of polite style, Amis’ novels go right into the currents and whirlpools of modernity, surging and hoarding without constraint.

via Los Angeles Review of Books – Mr. Amis’s Planet.

Posted in Lit

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center