Martin Amis, Experience
Adam is right, this has some of Amis' best mature writing. And most revealing. It's clear at times Amis is loath to adopt the unreliable narrator of half- or pseudo-fictive authorship and the first person. But in his discretion, especially in bemoaning the Fourth Estate, he is totally admirable not just because I'm such a fan that he can't do no wrong, but because he navigates the personal and public with such tact and protection. You're left with an acute sense of family bonds and underlying love, as corny as it sounds. Wholly British of course, divorced and dipsomaniacal, obsessed with teeth, but also enough of a study of paternity (and significantly, of parenting) and the unspoken volumes of assumtion and understanding in look, expression and gesture, to make for a complete picture of family. Representatively and psychologically complete: compliments for any novelist. I love Amis' perfectly-judged balance of wit and wisdom. I want all writers to be like this. And most especially, I love the method of this book: episodic, prosaic, hilariously funny, narrative-skipping and fragmentation with footnoting. Some of the best structuring of footnotes since DFW. Also, in writing a double bio, part autobiographic memoir and sympathetic bio of Kinsley as well as meditation on the family and the writing sensibility, I realised that this is how I want all biographies to read. Like a crossover with novelistic method. Which could lead to an issue of perceived persona is this realism or novelism? which question is bollocks of course. Especially if tied to Amis' enviable social mileu. The book is also a sensitive meditation on death, loss and murder, and the private sanctum/estate. The chapters with Bellow are lucid and heartening. Bellow's wisdom is several generations more advanced than Amis' of course but then that's the virtue of ageing. And the chapter in Poland is a fitting conclusion which has me hurtling headlong into Time's Arrow.
Also, a package in the mail has me jumping with anticipation and joy: Neu!, Lazer Guided Melodies, Oblivion, How Buildings Learn.
Also, the first two instalments of Kieslowski's Decalogue
: brilliant when viewed for what they are: one hour television dramas. Patient, quiet, simple and thematically humble, a brilliant and deliberate use of the small medium. That is, not to be read along cinematic expectations.