Brooklyn Fields.
April 28, 2011 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Almost Amis.

Exciting news: Martin Amis is moving to the US. (To Brooklyn, naturally.) A parade of writers weigh in, including Simon Rich: "It doesn't matter how good Money was. He needs to grow at least a Fu Manchu or he'll be laughed off the L train."
posted by TheWash (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Hey Martin!

(Or Martin publicity proxy/bedbug with a byline/associate of aforementioned Party of the first part...)
posted by Skygazer at 1:37 PM on April 28, 2011

Well, that article was a bit insufferable, but given that Amis (and specifically, his London Fields) were nearly single-handedly responsible for kickstarting my teenage interest in writing and contemporary literature, I'm admittedly kind of tickled at the possibility of running into him around town.
posted by incomple at 2:06 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

He probably would fit right in here. I'm of the generation that didn't encounter him until after he turned grotesque and Islam-baiting-- the first two things that come to mind are his awful 'parody' of fundamentalism in Granta 100 and the following Tibor Fischer's review of 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."
Which is easily the most simultaneously awesome and awful put-down I have ever seen in a review.
posted by monocyte at 2:10 PM on April 28, 2011

The grotesque, Islam-baiting nature of Amis's past decade is undeniable and indefensible, monocyte, though his essay collection The Second Plane went very far toward healing my hurt feelings.

In it Amis expounds at length the absolute disgust with which he views all fundamentalism, in the process tearing down even your everyday do-gooder ideologue as being on the short path to fascism. Whether or not one agrees with his sentiment, it regardless reads as totally genuine, and goes far to lessen the stink of xenophobia that he brought with his "Age of Horrorism" essay (which is also included in the book, but if I recall edited to be a bit less needlessly incendiary).
posted by incomple at 2:24 PM on April 28, 2011

Mr. Amis is that rare literary scion who may have outstripped his laurelled father—Kingsley Amis, the author of Lucky Jim.

Um, no.
posted by chavenet at 2:25 PM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

I am glad that Star Worshipping is not limited to the TMZ set.
posted by helmutdog at 2:30 PM on April 28, 2011

When I was in high school I thought London Fields went perfectly with U2's Achtung Baby, kind of in the way people say the Wall goes with the Wizard of Oz. This has less to do with drugs and more to do with me being a GIANT nerd and also quite bored. OMG the dystopian parallels...squee Bono's glasses...
posted by sweetkid at 2:43 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Benson: "Now tell me. Can you talk? Or are you malfunctioning?"
posted by clavdivs at 2:52 PM on April 28, 2011

I kind of love this article because it's written in that so-insufferable-it's-kinda-awesome way that early Amis was. This paragraph in particular:

"They all compete for the same advances, freelance fees and salaries. They enable each others' drinking habits and wreck each others' marriages. And you're always liable to bump into one of them when you're out to buy a pomegranate or a pack of cigarettes. Throw a dart across the barroom and you might poke one. They're like bedbugs with bylines, and there'll soon be a new bug in town, who might just be the biggest bug of all."

..could have been pulled right out of Money. I can't tell if it's subtle parody, or unintentional hero worship. That's funny.

(Side note, for years I thought the Will Self was an alter-ego of Amis because of their similar milieu and the character John Self from Money.)
posted by lumpenprole at 3:27 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wonder if this means that Brooklyn has peaked.

Mrs Jones believes that his latest was pulled from the back of the drawer. Sees many signs of juvenilia in it, she does, fuzzy shadows of his Rachel Paper days.

Which, if true, might suggest that he has peaked.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2011

Mr. Amis is that rare literary scion who may have outstripped his laurelled father—Kingsley Amis, the author of Lucky Jim.

This is the point where I lost the thread on this shameless handjob by Lorentz.

Amis Jr. is virtuosic, mind-blowingly great at times and Money was a landmark experience, but Lucky Jim, and where Money was defined by it's time, and resonated pitch-perfect of that time in the 80s. Lucky Jim did that at a minimum, transcended the 50s and went on to define and change that decade. Also, I've don't think I've laughed so fully and helplessly, rolling on the carpet nearly pissing my pants as much as I did with LJ.

Amis should be a better writer than he is, considering who his father is, and really in this town (Brooklyn), there are plenty of good writers, many better than Amis Jr.
posted by Skygazer at 4:48 PM on April 28, 2011

Heh. I saw "Angry Young Man" and thought of my former editor. Aw.
posted by limeonaire at 7:31 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wonder if this means that Brooklyn has peaked.

blech, that's so hipster it doesn't know it's hipster. Brooklyn's been Brooklyn for hundreds of years, Amises or Lethems or Foers or Ames or Austers or no. Enjoy Jersey City sheeple.
posted by sweetkid at 10:19 PM on April 28, 2011

I lurve middle-period Amis, and I think his memoir Experience was beautiful.

But yeah, the last few books -- yeesh.
posted by bardic at 10:26 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I went right off him after reading The Rachel Papers at too young an age, and eventually throwing it across the room thinking 'well if you hate women that much, why don't you just become gay and save everyone the bother.'

I read it at about the same time as High Fidelity and for all Amis's way of turning a phrase and coinign heavy-handed nominative allegories (Keith Talent? John Self?) I still think Hornby's the better novelist. Which I think says less about Hornby.
posted by mippy at 5:40 AM on April 29, 2011

>that's so hipster

Not sure I get your point, or perhaps you missed mine. I was attempting humor.

Me, I'm way too old to be hip, and Amis is older than I am, and yet, the whole article seems to drip with the happening with-it literary scene. But surely once the established fogeys with serious money start coming in, then the hip is over and the in is out?

I've no fear for Brooklyn itself. Hell, I have family roots there that pre-date the bridge.

(Wonder how this story would have played had he plopped the 2.5 mil on an upper east side condo.)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:53 AM on April 29, 2011

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