Martin Amis Long Fiction Analysis
Martin Amis remarked in an interview that he writes about “low events in a high style,” and this comment gives a clue to the paradox his work embodies. Although the content of his novels is frequently sordid and nihilistic—dictated by the depressing absence in his characters of traditional cultural values—Amis’s rich, ornate, and continually inventive style lifts the novels to a level from which they give delight. “I would certainly sacrifice any psychological or realistic truth for a phrase, for a paragraph that has a spin on it,” Amis has commented. The result is that Amis’s novels, in spite of the fact that they are often uproariously hilarious, do not make easy or quick reading. Indeed, Kingsley Amis has remarked that he is unable to get through his son’s novels because of their ornate style, which he attributes to the influence of Vladimir Nabokov.
The Rachel Papers
Amis’s first novel, The Rachel Papers, set the tone for most of his subsequent work, although his later novels, beginning with Money, have exhibited greater depth and range, as the force of his satire—his immense comic hyperbole—has steadily increased. Furthermore, one senses a sharp moral awareness in Money and London Fields, although Amis chooses not to offer any solutions to the individual and social ills he identifies so acutely.
The Rachel Papers is a lively but fairly innocuous satire...
(The entire section is 4140 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Martin Amis Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!