Martin Amis, fully Martin Louis Amis

Martin
Amis, fully Martin Louis Amis
1949

British Novelist

Author Quotes

Suicide is the night train, speeding your way to darkness.

The city - is the city that will heal them with knife blades and cars, batons, of gunfire. Loose cables and dangerous buildings in masonry of telekinetic city.

The notion of the "axis of evil" has an interesting provenance. In early drafts of the President's speech the "axis of evil" was the "axis of hatred", "axis" having been settled on for its associations with the enemy in the second world war. The "axis of hatred" at this point consisted of only two countries, Iran and Iraq. whereas of course the original axis consisted of three (Germany, Italy, Japan). It was additionally noticed that Iran and Iraq, while not both Arab, were both Muslim. So they brought in North Korea. We may notice, in this embarrass of the inapposite, that the Axis was an alliance, whereas Iran and Iraq are blood-bespattered enemies, and the zombie nation of North Korea is, in truth, so mortally ashamed of itself that it can hardly bear to show its face.

Their aim was to torture tens of thousands, and to terrify hundreds of millions. In this, they have succeeded.

This be Nature?s way of recommending monogamy. [On STDs]

Very broadly, literature concerns itself with the internal, cinema with the external.

What could never be endured, it turned out, was the last swathe of time before sleep came, the path from larger day to huger night, a little death when the mind was still alive and fluttering. Thus

When I see a lot of young faces in the audience, it's just sort of sinking in how important that is. Because you're old enough now to identify them very strongly as being young - whereas before, of course they were young, because you were young. Now it's not like that.

Whereas I would argue that style is morality: morality detailed, configured, intensified. It?s not in the mere narrative arrangement of good and bad that morality makes itself felt. It can be there in every sentence

You can kill time in a number of ways but it always depends on the kind of time you're fighting: some time is unkillable, immortal

Suicide is what everyone young thinks they'll do before they get old. But they hardly ever get round to it. They just don't want to commit themselves in that way. When you're young and you look ahead, time ends in mist at twenty-five. 'Old won't happen to me', you say. But old does. Oh, old does. Old always gets you in the end.

The city will heal their knife blade, car, police baton, bullet. Local outbreaks of love and hate. Ragged and torn down cables laying telekinetic city.

The only writer who gives me unfeigned pleasure is P.G. Wodehouse. And even him I find a bit heavy. He takes a lot out of me. Scratching my hair, with soft whistles, with lips aquiver, I frown over Sunset at Blandings.

There are many accounts, uniformly incomplete, of what it is like to die slowly. But there is no information at all about what it is like to die suddenly and violently. We are being gentle when we describe such deaths as instant. 'The passengers died instantly.' Did they? It may be that some people can do it, can die instantly. The very old, because the vital powers are weak; the very young, because there is no great accretion of experience needing to be scattered. Muhammad Atta was 33. As for him (and perhaps this is true even in cases of vaporization; perhaps this was true even for the wall-shadows of Japan), it took much longer than an instant. By the time the last second arrived, the first second seemed as far away as childhood...Even as his flesh fried and his blood boiled, there was life, kissing its fingertips. Then it echoed out, and ended.

This had seemed a safe choice, since to be against the Beatles (late-middle period) is to be against life.

Vidal gives the impression of believing that the entire heterosexual edifice - registry offices, 'Romeo and Juliet,' the disposable diaper - is just a sorry story of self-hypnosis and mass hysteria: a hoax, a racket, or sheer propaganda.

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.

When I talk about the pleasure principle, I don't say there is only one kind of pleasure, there are many kinds of pleasure. Some pleasure is difficult. It should be for the reader as well as the writer. But it has to be pleasure.

While clearly an impregnable masterpiece, Don Quixote suffers from one fairly serious flaw - that of outright unreadability. This reviewer should know, because he has just read it. The book bristles with beauties, charm, sublime comedy; it is also, for long stretches (approaching about 75 per cent of the whole), inhumanly dull.... Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies. When the experience is over, and the old boy checks out at last (on page 846 - the prose wedged tight, with no breaks for dialogue), you will shed tears all right: not tears of relief but tears of pride. You made it, despite all that Don Quixote could do.

You cannot combine being a movie star with not being a movie star.

Take a look at the scaly witches round your local shopping center, many of them with children. Grim enough with their clothes on. Imagine them naked! Snatches that yo-yo between their knees, breasts so flaccid you could tie them in a knot. One would have to be literally galvanized on Spanish Fly even to consider it. Yet it gets done somehow. Look at the kids. ? The teenager may be more spontaneous, doglike, etc., but it?s generally only another name on the list, only another notch on the cock.

The deal with multiculturalism is that the only culture you're allowed to disapprove of is your own.

The press is more vicious than the populace.... It's hard to disentangle what was present in the national psyche to begin with, and what was added. It does seem peculiarly British to want to destroy eminence -- though often it's an unearned eminence, more plain ubiquity -- and once the boot has been applied, there's a huge queue of people wanting to do the same.

There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse. America could perhaps claim to be satisfying the first rule (while admitting that the improvement may be only local and short term). It cannot begin to satisfy the second.

This is the way that it goes. In your mid-forties you have your first crisis of mortality (death will not ignore me); and ten years later you have your first crisis of age (my body whispers that death is already intrigued by me). But something very interesting happens to you in between. As the fiftieth birthday approaches, you get that sense that your life is thinning out, and will continue to thin out, until it thins out into nothing. And you sometimes say to yourself; That went a bit quick. That went a bit quick. In certain moods you may want to put it a bit more forcefully. As in: OY!! That went a BIT FUCKING QUICK!!!.... Then fifty comes and goes, and fifty-one, and fifty-two. And life thickens out again. Because there is now an enormous and unsuspected presence within your being, like an undiscovered continent. This is the past.

Author Picture
First Name
Martin
Last Name
Amis, fully Martin Louis Amis
Birth Date
1949
Bio

British Novelist