British novelist Martin Amis dies at 73 after long illness


Martin Amis, a highly influential and controversial writer of his generation, passed away at his residence in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday. He had been battling prostate cancer for several years. Amis authored over 20 books, including notable novels like Money, London Fields, and The Zone of Interest. His works delved into themes of satire, social commentary, postmodernism, and dark humor. Additionally, he was a prolific essayist, critic, and memoirist, known for his witty and candid reflections on life and society.

British novelist Martin Amis dies at 73 after long illness

Martin Amis Early Life and Career

Martin Amis was born on August 25, 1949, in Oxford, England. His father, Kingsley Amis, was a celebrated novelist, and his mother was Hilary Bardwell. Growing up in a literary environment surrounded by books and writers, he attended Oxford University, where he studied English literature and formed friendships with fellow students Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes. After graduating in 1971, he worked as a literary editor for The New Statesman and The Observer, refining his incisive and distinctive style of criticism. In 1973, his first novel, The Rachel Papers, earned him the Somerset Maugham Award for the best debut novel.

Martin Amis’s Major works and themes

Martin Amis gained fame in the 1980s with novels like Money (1984) and London Fields (1989), establishing himself as a master of satire and astute social observation. Influenced by writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, Saul Bellow, and Philip Roth, he portrayed the excesses and absurdities of contemporary society with a dark and comedic perspective. Amis also explored various narrative techniques and genres, including science fiction, historical fiction, and detective fiction. Among his noteworthy works are Time’s Arrow (1991), which chronologically reverses the Holocaust, The Information (1995), examining the rivalry between two writers, and The Zone of Interest (2014), which revisits the theme of Nazi Germany.

Alongside his novels, Amis penned collections of essays, reviews, and interviews on diverse topics ranging from literature and politics to sports and popular culture. His memoirs, such as Experience (2000), detailing his relationship with his father and personal struggles, and Koba the Dread (2002), examining Stalinism’s atrocities, further showcased his versatility as a writer. Inside Story (2020), a reflection on his life and friendships, marked another notable addition to his body of work.

Controversies and criticisms

Martin Amis was not only celebrated but also a controversial figure, frequently stirring debate and attracting criticism due to his opinions and actions. In the 1990s, he engaged in a public feud with Salman Rushdie after expressing doubts about Rushdie’s safety following the fatwa issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. Amis faced accusations of Islamophobia, misogyny, and elitism for his remarks on religion, women, and social class. His decision to relocate to the United States in 2006, citing tax reasons and cultural decline, also sparked controversy. Additionally, his costly dental makeover in 1995, which he claimed was necessary for health reasons but was perceived by many as a display of vanity, garnered attention.

Tributes and Legacy

Martin Amis was widely recognized as one of the most influential and original writers of his time, significantly shaping contemporary literature and culture. He received numerous accolades, including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, two Booker Prize shortlist nominations, and the Order of the British Empire. His peers and successors held him in high regard, offering heartfelt tributes upon his passing. Ian McEwan referred to him as “a great writer” who “created unforgettable characters.” Salman Rushdie described him as a “dear friend” and “an angelic writer,” while Zadie Smith praised his brilliance as a stylist who made language come alive. The late Christopher Hitchens, in 2011, was hailed as “the finest living writer in the English language.”


Martin Amis leaves behind a remarkable and diverse body of work that will continue to inspire and challenge generations of readers. He is survived by his wife, Isabel Fonseca, whom he married in 1998, four children from previous relationships, two stepchildren, and several grandchildren. At the time of his passing, he was working on a new novel titled The Biographer’s Moustache, with aspirations of completing it next year. As Amis eloquently wrote in his novel Money, “Life is a precious gift to be cherished in every moment.”

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