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Experiencia

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,009 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
"We live in the age of mass loquacity," Martin Amis writes by way of introduction to Experience, thereby placing the reader in a curious bind. How to feel about a memoir by a writer who deplores our current enthusiasm for memoirs? Can such a public appeal for private life be convincing? The son of misanthropic comic novelist Kingsley Amis, Amis the Younger's life story is ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published October 28th 2001 by Anagrama (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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MJ Nicholls
Martin Amis, you will discover, is a human punching bag for critics. Google his name or one of his books, and you will find an endless resource of Amis-bashing from broadsheets to boobrags.

The reason? Pretension. People perceive Amis as a conceited windbag who ranks himself amongst Nabokov, Saul Bellow and his father Kingsley in the pantheon of literary greats. The voice doesn’t help – that interminable transatlantic drawl with its considered hesitations and self-important emphases.

The fact of t
...more
Lobstergirl
Jan 13, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lamar Odom
Shelves: own, memoir
It's probably appropriate that Experience and Speak, Memory are often compared, because Amis worships Nabokov, and you have to read them both with a pencil handy so you can underline and marvel over their brilliant sentences. But what I've read of both their fiction, while it provides the occasional chuckle, and in the case of Nabokov admiration, has left me cold, even queasy (yes, I have suspicions it's me, not Nabokov, though I feel fortified in learning on p. 119 that there's "something in Na ...more
Manny
Nov 21, 2008 Manny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I think this is my all-time favourite autobiography. Beautifully written, packed with wonderful anecdotes, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny and sometimes deeply moving. What more can you ask for?
Jonfaith
Dec 16, 2012 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The memoir is a guided tour, no free ranging research with the price of admission. It is likely closer to a slide show. One mustn't shuffle the sequence. It alleges itself as a report, an account. It isn't submission. That is unseemly. I often felt ill at ease when reading Experience. My friends and I read Zachary Leader's biography of Kingsley Amis a few years back. The sordid details of the home life and its philandering projections really bothered me. It also gave a context to Marty's less th ...more
matt
Feb 14, 2008 matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Whether you love or hate Amis, the sentences he crafts are as sparkling and witty and imaginitive as anything, and his pronouncements are somehow uttered with this devastatingly quiet authority of hipness that you sort of can't help but take him seriously. He's the guy at the party you want to like you...

I initially found out about him through my years-long obsession with all things Hitch, so learning about Amis' life and work has been an unexpected bonus.

Check it:

"I said in the car, the hired
...more
Jessica
Jan 28, 2013 Jessica marked it as aborted-efforts  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leetle-boys, dicklits
Made it to page 236. Thought I was a huge enough Amis fangirl to be crazy about this, but after a promising beginning it wound up making me adore him less. At the end of the day, I just don't find Martin Amis's life as fascinating as Martin Amis does, and I definitely am not as interested in his relationship with his father. Don't get me wrong, there's some amazing stuff in here, but the book as a whole reminded me of personal essays I see students write for grad school admission: most people ha ...more
Andrea Carolina
La otra noche terminé de leer la autobiografía de Martin Amis aunque Martin Amis haya escrito su autobiografía como a los 45 años y aun este vivo. Al final el libro resultó bastante largo y un poco repetitivo a ratos, pero nunca decepcionante. Me quedan muchas cosas de ese libro, muchas cosas y profundas, vuelvo y digo que me siento realmente comprendida con las palabras, con las ideas con la historia y los sentimientos de este señor, comprendida en este punto de mi vida, vuelvo y digo que los l ...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
"E' tutta esperienza, dispiace solo che debba essercene così tanta"

Martin Amis, scrittore postmoderno figlio di Kingsley Amis, a sua volta noto poeta, scrittore e critico letterario britannico, traccia un profilo dei suoi anni di gioventù fino alla maturità, racconto discontinuo sul piano cronologico è però molto avvincente su quello umano...Martin ha avuto una vita ricca di avvenimenti e di stimoli, alcuni piacevoli, come le frequentazioni di scrittori famosi e gli incontri con altri grandi del
...more
Casey
May 29, 2007 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults
I have always felt that Martin Amis is probably a giant ass. This opinion is only confirmed by my feeling of an increasing crankiness in each new book. I'm glad I read Experience. It's very easy to judge a total stranger based on interviews, but this memoir is an honest account of his untidy life, and it's told with genuine feeling. There's his huge jerk of a famous father, there's a missing cousin, there's a child he knew nothing of. With Experience, readers gain some sympathy for Amis, who tur ...more
Sarah
Apr 22, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Yes, Amis is self-satisfied. And yes, he writes more -- much more -- about his teeth than about his wives. But he's just so CLEVER, it's hard not to enjoy it. And he turns out to be unexpectedly sensitive when writing about sad or tender moments. Demerits: the book lacks structure, and runs on a bit. A third of the way through, I thought it would be one of my favourite recent reads; two-thirds of the way through, I'd run out of steam and had to take a ...more
Evelyn
Picked this up on a whim from the library - I wouldn't necessarily include Martin Amis in my 'favourite authors of all time' list, but I've read a couple of his books and whilst I've found some hit and miss, I can appreciate that the man can write some good prose.

Experience is Amis' autobiography and it provides the reader with a thoroughly intimate rummage through Amis' family closet of skeletons (a murdered cousin and a love/hate relationship with his famous father to name but two), inter-spli
...more
Sean
Jul 23, 2014 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has a certain brilliance to it unrivalled by its fellow memoirs or autobiographies. Amis ignores the fact that a memoir is a recollection of his life and instead decides to throw in essential fragments from his life at you randomly throughout the novel, whilst working in a linear narrative by contrasting them with another moment. Amis manages to construct his yarn through constant use of letters sent to his father, Kingsley, and stepmother Jane during the late teen and young adult era ...more
Ethan
Jul 05, 2011 Ethan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The title, it turns out, is a caveat emptor.

I went in expecting a look at MA's life as a writer in his twenties, thirties, and forties--the Granta/Booker heydays, nights out, friends, foes and lovers. You know, summer reading fun.

I got perhaps fifty pages on tooth pain, tooth anxieties, trips to dentists, and ruminations on the dental problems of famous novelists.

And discussions about a murdered cousin (and with it, the obvious hope that the weight of that terrible event would counterbalance the
...more
Jenny
Jun 18, 2011 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a couple of Martin Amis' books and several of his dad's. Somehow, after London Fields, I decided there was something about him I didn't quite care for. But then a review of another biography compared it to this one and said how good Amis's was and so I put it on my Kindle and read it at the writers' retreat. I found myself laughing out loud quite often (always a good thing)and I enjoyed his thoughts about writing and literature especially in the first part. The second part is mainly ab ...more
F.R.
Aug 01, 2009 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest I’ve always preferred the novels of Amis Sr to Amis Jr. Although I haven’t dipped as extensively into Martin’s work as some of my contemporaries, nothing I’ve read so far has matched – say – ‘Lucky Jim’. Indeed I think the younger Amis’s books would benefit from him taking a page at the beginning to write: “My name is Martin Amis and I am very clever.” Once those two facts have been clearly established he wouldn’t need to bang on about them in the prose and we’d no doubt have much m ...more
Lee
Sep 03, 2012 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the themes from minutiae to magnificent, as coexisting subjects of experience - writing, adolescence, children (being a child and having them) and guilt, sex, problematic teeth, travel, marriage, troubles with friendships, pleasure in friendships, struggles with close family members. He writes at one point that his dentist 'after a particularly gruelling session, wrung his hands and told his mother "it's a mess in there"'. He also writes of the coincidence of things that happen to familie ...more
Katie
Mar 11, 2014 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of footnotes in this book. And that equates to a chronic self-consciousness. What you might expect from an auto-biography after all. But then many autobiographies are written by ghost writers nowadays.

I loved and recoiled at times from his triumphant use of English, his unashamed pride in his vocabulary and the perfection with which the specific word is used for the specific context. There is no fudging.

It's dense but it's also witty and by the end of the first 2/3 of the book (
...more
Carmel
Jan 25, 2016 Carmel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this book. The quality of the writing along with Martin Amis' insights are touching and enlightening. It's triggered some interesting ideas for a series of figurative paintings, and plenty of leads to some interesting writers to research. Love it.
Mel L-C
Jul 14, 2013 Mel L-C rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reluctant to give this book even one star, as it doesn't deserve THAT, in my humble opinion. I seldom excoriate books I've read, but this one is so self-important and trumped up that I feel obliged to warn other readers away from its pretentious pages.
Eveline Chao
Dec 12, 2010 Eveline Chao rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK I am officially moving this from "currently reading" to "read" because I have abandoned it & don't think I'll ever finish. I found this totally boring but probably just don't know who enough of the semi-famous people involved are for it to be juicy.
Gina
Jan 18, 2012 Gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of Martin Amis so perhaps this memoir isn't for everyone, but his insights and shared experiences of love and loss helped me cope with my own grief experiences.
Cynthia
May 19, 2015 Cynthia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got to about page 180 and decided that life is too short to devote any more time to this book. I've read a couple of Amis's books and enjoyed them, but this book exhausted my interest in him. Having two or three footnotes on some pages was tiresome, especially when the tiny type extended on to the next page. He came across as very self-absorbed, and I had the impression that he put himself in the same category as Nabokov, a far superior writer in my opinion. A strong editor could have helped h ...more
Nicole
Jul 18, 2007 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The footnotes drove me absolutely nuts! I had to stop reading it.
Sariah
Jul 28, 2008 Sariah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Read to page 204 and just couldn't take it anymore.
Cailin Deery
Sep 03, 2014 Cailin Deery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cailin by: Tom Parnell
Amis starts and ends by criticising life as an inherently poor story. “The trouble with life is its amorphousness… thinly plotted, largely theme-less, sentimental and ineluctably trite. The dialogue is poor, or at least violently uneven. The twists are either predictable or sensationalist. And it’s always the same beginning; the same ending…”

He believed writers write far more penetratingly than they live. He also repeatedly recalls a phrase Kingsley once said to him (whether or not he also subsc
...more
Robert
Dec 09, 2009 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
'Experience' was surely one of the best books I read this year. I came into this book having read nothing at all by Kingsley Amis and almost nothing by Martin Amis, but I was completely fascinated by this sort of autobiography told in a series of vignettes. Amis jumps around his entire life, bringing the reader in medias res to a situation here and a conversation there.

It documents the slightly crazy upbringing and adulthood of Martin Amis, a child of Britain's literati class. 'Experience' is al
...more
Diann Blakely
EXPERIENCE begins with Martin Amis’s cranky resignation to the limits of the genre he has chosen: memoir. He knows, of course, that fiction presents its own incorrigible limits, ditto life itself—or at least life when viewed as a structural principle. For novels, Amis points out, warp “reality experiences”—a term with particular resonance after a season of "Survivor II" and "Temptation Island"—because novelists inevitably fall prey to the “addiction to seeing parallels and making connections.” O ...more
Kristin
Mar 31, 2010 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing in this book is so spectacular that it completely makes up for the fact that I wasn’t really interested in much of the content and, in fact, I suspect I wouldn’t like him very much if I met him in person. But he’s so smart, and his writing is so elegant that I don’t really care where the journey leads, I just love going along for the ride. Not a traditional memoir: non-chronological, lots and lots of footnotes, but I think it made for a better read - I really feel like I was in his h ...more
Brittany Kubes
I was advised to read The Information, and then to read Experience in order to give context to Amis because he gets a lot of flak for his personal life & writings. After loving The Information, I don’t think I needed to delve into this memoir….while Amis has certainly led an interesting life, this book made me come back down to earth after The Information and like him a little less.

Without any sense of chronology, the memoir touches gently on the major events that formed Amis’ life: the mur
...more
Richard Bardon
Feb 24, 2013 Richard Bardon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow.

Along with Hitch-22, the best memoir I've ever read.

Hitch-22's greatest strength was its insistence of maintaining the form of a memoir (biography, even) from the subject, but at the same time infusing the wit of an incredible writer.

Experience's strength is that it in no way resembles a memoir.

Although in first-person, this is--in every sense-- a novel.

And a great one at that.

Amis jumps between angst over his writing, trouble with the state of his mouth and lower jaw(and the odd media c
...more
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Imprinted Lives: ...: Amis Part 1 Unawakened 2 5 Dec 07, 2012 08:25PM  
Imprinted Lives: ...: Amis Part 2 The Main Events 1 3 Dec 06, 2012 10:56PM  
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Martin Amis is an English novelist, essayist and short story writer. His works include the novels Money, London Fields and The Information.

The Guardian writes that "all his critics have noted what Kingsley Amis [his father] complained of as a 'terrible compulsive vividness in his style... that constant demonstrating of his command of English'; and it's true that the Amis-ness of Amis will be recog
...more
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“What did Nabokov and Joyce have in common, apart from the poor teeth and the great prose? Exile, and decades of near pauperism. A compulsive tendency to overtip. An uxoriousness that their wives deservedly inspired. More than that, they both lived their lives 'beautifully'--not in any Jamesian sense (where, besides, ferocious solvency would have been a prerequisite), but in the droll fortitude of their perseverance. They got the work done, with style.” 48 likes
“My life looked good on paper - where, in fact, almost all of it was being lived.” 32 likes
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