Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the masturbating uncle

Happy Birthday, Martin Amis! Today is the British novelist's 60th birthday.

Critical opinion is pretty well divided on the son of writer Kingsley Amis--who famously showed so little regard for or interest in his own son's work. Read a roundup of wildly divergent viewpoints, ranging from "most original prose stylist of his generation" (
David Lodge) to "[not] any more misogynist than the average Englishman" (Germaine Greer) here.

When Amis is good, as he was in, say, Money, he's marvelous, full of linguistic pyrotechnics and strange conceits. When he's not...well, I'll leave it to novelist Tibor Fischer, in his scathing 2003 review of Amis's book, Yellow Dog:

Yellow Dog isn't bad as in not very good or slightly disappointing. It's not-knowing-where-to-look bad. I was reading my copy on the Tube and I was terrified someone would look over my shoulder (not only because of the embargo, but because someone might think I was enjoying what was on the page). It's like your favourite uncle being caught in a school playground, masturbating.

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