About a week ago, I declared my love for Philip Roth. Now, he is not alone. Because Martin Amis is fantastic, too.
I’m terrible about remembering books I’ve read, even just a couple months after I’ve read them. I figure this might help a bit. Or, at least, it’ll amuse me for a few minutes.
So, in a few quotes, here’s why I like Martin Amis so much. I qualify this declaration like I qualified my love for Philip Roth: I’ve only read one of Amis’s books. So here we go:
Like writing, paintings seem to hint at a topsy-turvy world in which, so to speak, time’s arrow moves the other way. The invisible speedlines suggests a different nexus of sequence and process. That thought again. It always strangely disquiets me. I wonder: is this the case with all the arts? Well, it’s not the case with music. It’s not the case with opera, where everyone talks backward and sounds god-awful.
Brilliant! By the way, the events of the novel are told backward, but the narrator doesn’t know. It’s fantastic.
You can see the stars, now, in the city, or everybody else can, and not just an attractive smattering here and there. No: the inordinate cosmos. Most people behave as if the stars have been visible all along. To them it’s no big deal…To me, the stars are motelike, just twists of dust. Yet I feel their fire. How the burn my sight.
Now and then, when the sky is starless, I look up and form the hilarious suspicion that the world will soon start making sense.
This stuff is absolutely beautiful. Not all of it is, though, if that’s what you’re beginning to suspect. The sentence directly before this little clip is “He dreams he is shitting human bones.”
How fortunate that I am unkillable. Unkillable, but not immortal. What happened to our manhood?
Ahh! (Remember, here, if you’re confused, that the story goes backward.) How I love Martin Amis! Entirely differently, of course, than I love Philip Roth. I sure as hell wouldn’t volunteer to be Amis’s Herta.