Martin Amis, one of the most celebrated British novelists of his generation, has died at the age of 73.
The New York Times quoted his wife, author Isabel Fonseca, as saying that he died of esophageal cancer at his Florida home.
Amis is best known for his 1984 novel Money and his 1989 work London Fields.
He wrote 14 novels and several non-fiction books, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of his era.
Born in Oxford in 1949, he was the son of novelist and poet Sir Kingsley Amis.
The younger Amis followed in his father’s footsteps with his first novel, The Rachel Papers.
Published in 1973 while he was working at the Times Literary Supplement, it follows the romantic adventures of a teenage boy in London before university and won the Somerset Maugham Prize.
Amis penned a string of notable works, and was a contemporary of other famous writers such as James Fenton, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan.
His close relationship with journalist Christopher Hitchens, who died of esophageal cancer in 2011, was well documented.
He belonged to a colorful set that rejuvenated the British literary landscape and is credited with inspiring a generation of young writers.
Rushdie paid tribute to Amis, telling The New Yorker: “He used to say that all he wanted to do was leave behind a shelf of books – to be able to say, ‘From here to here, this I am’.
“His voice is now silent. His friends will miss him dearly. But we have the shelf.”
And another contemporary, Sir Kazuo Ishiguro, told the BBC: “He was a standard-bearer for novelists of my generation and an inspiration to me personally.
“For all his degrees of satire, the brilliant swagger of his prose, there was always something tender not far from the surface, a yearning for love and connection. His work will survive the various shifts of fashion and works.”
a literary rock star
Witty, provocative, linguistically daring – and, in his heyday, a celebrity. Martin Amis was often described as the Mick Jagger of the literary world (and Carrie Bradshaw was seen reading his novels in Sex in the City).
He was one of the prominent names on that era-defining first list of the best British novelists under 40, chosen famously by Granta in 1983 and every decade since.
Amis had by then already established itself as a formidable figure in English literature.
Her semi-autobiographical debut novel The Rachel Papers propelled her onto the literary scene in 1973. It was verbally inventive, with an understanding of the frustrations of a certain type of clever (horny) young man.
His second novel, Dead Babies, published in 1975, charted in a weekend of debauchery and showcased his extravagant, lewd use of language.
Amis was never far from sight in the 1980s and 1990s – often quoted, often photographed. A literary rock star.
His novels summed up the era, whether it was a satire on the excesses of 1980s wealth and Thatcherism’s glittering, hollowness in London Fields, or the retrograde Holocaust writing in Time’s Arrow about a German doctor’s life in Auschwitz. His search for
Amis had a really recognizable voice. He was a British writer who bridged the gap between the somewhat comfortable style of the English novel that preceded him and the elaborate fiction of America.
The response to his passing cements his stature as one of the great British novelists of his age.
Amis’s work was often characterized by its darkly comic subject matter and satire.
He also wrote two story collections, six non-fiction books and a memoir.
He was known as a public intellectual and an often controversial commentator on current affairs and politics.
Paisa became his most acclaimed work and is often cited as a defining novel of the 1980s.
The book, set in New York and London, follows a director of commercials as he attempts to make his first feature film, and was based on Amis’ own time as a screenwriter on the Saturn 3, starring Kirk. was a widely banned sci-fi film. Douglas.
He often returned to the theme of the Holocaust during his career in novels such as Times Arrow and The Zone of Interest.
Amis, who moved to the US from London in 2012, published a memoir, The Experience, in 2000. Her most recent novel, Inside Story, was published in 2020.
His friend Zachary Leader, a literary critic, said Mr. Amis was “charming and very generous” but “much troubled by his own success”.
“His life was a series of invitations, many of which he declined, and not all of which he declined with the good grace he showed to his friends. He was not irritable with those he liked. I think they did their best,” Mr Leader told the BBC.
Michal Shavit, UK editor of Amis at Vintage Books, said: “It’s hard to imagine a world without Martin Amis. He was king – an extraordinary stylist, super cool, a brilliantly funny, erudite and fearless writer, and a truly wonderful man .
“He has been very important and formative to so many readers and writers over the past half century.”
“We are devastated by the passing of our author and friend Martin Amis. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones, especially his children and wife Isobel,” Penguin Books said in a statement.
“He leaves an enormous legacy and an indelible mark on the British cultural landscape, and will be greatly missed.”
The Booker Prize’s Twitter account posted: “We are saddened to hear that Martin Amis, one of the most admired and celebrated novelists of the past 50 years, has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Time’s Arrow was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and his 2003 novel Yellow Dog was on the long list.