The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America
At the age of ten, when Martin Amis spent a year in Princeton, New Jersey, he was excited and frightened by America. As an adult he has approached that confusing country from many arresting angles, and interviewed its literati, filmmakers, thinkers, opinion-makers, leaders and crackpots...more
Marty's non-fiction output is rather thin on the ground. Apart from the tremendous collection The War Against Cliché we could use more articles and opinions from Britain's more ...more
"Elvis's family were hillbillies, 'a deracinated and restless race'. Elvis's father Vernon, 'greedy and stupid', 'a dullard and a donkey', was clearly a fine representative of the breed. Elvis was 'a silly little country boy' who just happened to be able 'to sing like a nigger' ...more
America is the subject of this collection of essays by the novelist, Martin Amis. Oscillating between warm affection and perfectly timed quips, Amis brings us close (or close enough to say something amusing) to the worlds of Hugh Hefner, Brian De Palma, Gore Vidal and Gloria Steinem.
Hefner gets off easy, being a relatively easy target already, as Amis says after hearing what an average day in the old guy’s life is like, ‘That’s four movie’s a day.’ Norman Mailer’s career, o ...more
An amusing, but seriously dated, look at America and American culture. Hilarious, especially if you are looking for book reviews on Vonnegut, Capote, Vidal, and Mailer. Or get a different viewpoint on Claus von Bulow (I finally get that Robin Williams joke) or Elvis. Ok, I had the same opinion of Elvis, but like I said, dated.
Nothing like a witty British writer to make American culture shallow and slimy . . . actually, pointing out the obvious shouldn't count as shocking information.
For me the primo, top shelf, take no prisoners essays were not the essays on US authors—rather, they were the essay on Playboy and the essay on Evangelicals. And these alone were worth the price. Amis’ witty and careful dismantling of the Hefner era Playboy empire is cathartic and yet gives way to foreboding i ...more
So, you get Amis's takes on the great writers of our time (Bellow, Vonnegut, Heller, Vidal, Capote, Mailer, Updike) and some of ...more
Suggested readings: "The Killings in Atlanta", "In Hefnerland", "Double Jeopardy: Making Sense of AIDS" and "Brian De Palma: The Movie Brute"...as well as any and all of the author profiles (esp. Saul Bellow).
The best bit: my used copy, signed by Amis, cost three bucks!
"Why not address the mysterious circumstance of being, and say what it's like to be alive at this time, on this planet?"
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