British novelist Martin Amis, who brought a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility to his stories and lifestyle, has died. He was 73.
His death on Friday at his home in Florida, from cancer of the esophagus, was confirmed by his agent, Andrew Wylie, on Saturday.
Amis was the son of another British writer, Kingsley Amis. Martin Amis was a leading voice among a generation of writers that included his good friend, the late Christopher Hitchens, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie.
Among his best-known works were Money, a satire about consumerism in London, The Information and London Fields, along with his 2000 memoir, Experience.
Jonathan Glazer’s adaption of Amis’ 2014 novel The Zone of Interest premiered Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, about a Nazi commandant who lives next to Auschwitz with his family, drew some of the best reviews of the festival.
The Holocaust was the topic of Amis’ novel Time’s Arrow and Josef Stalin’s reign in Russia in House of Meetings, examples of how his writing explored the dark soul.
“Violence is what I hate most, is what baffles me and disgusts me most,” Amis told The Associated Press in 2012. “Writing comes from silent anxiety, the stuff you don’t know you’re really brooding about and when you start to write you realize you have been brooding about it, but not consciously. It’s terribly mysterious.”
Amis was a celebrity in his own right, his life often chronicled by London tabloids since his 1973 debut, The Rachel Papers. His love life, his change of agents, even his dental work were fodder for stories.
“He was the king — a stylist extraordinaire, super cool, a brilliantly witty, erudite and fearless writer and a truly wonderful man,” said Michal Shavit, his editor in England. “He has been so important and formative for so many readers and writers over the last half century. Every time he published a new book it was an event.”
Critic Michiko Kakutani wrote of Amis in The New York Times in 2000 that “he is a writer equipped with a daunting arsenal of literary gifts: a dazzling, chameleonesque command of language, a willingness to tackle large issues and larger social canvases and an unforgiving, heat-seeking eye for the unwholesome ferment of contemporary life.”
“We are devastated at the death of our author and friend, Martin Amis,” Amis’ publisher, Penguin, tweeted. “He leaves a towering legacy and an indelible mark on the British cultural landscape, and will be missed enormously.”
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