Saturday 19 November 2011

Martin and the Women

Amanda Craig reviews Martin Amis: The Biography, By Richard Bradford and discovers Amis minor is to be pitied.

Novelists tend to be forged by the experience of anguish, but the "endless cocktail party" in which the three Amis children were brought up would, in a lesser writer, fill a misery memoir. His father, the near-alcoholic Kingsley Amis had, as Richard Bradford puts it, a "limitless taste for adultery" and if his naive young wife Hilly provided their children with love, then the chaos evinced by these pages explains much about his son's fiction. Certainly by the end of this first biography, the old joke about "Mein Kampf by Martin Amis" being the least likely combination of author and title looks a bitter one.

She writes about Amis's lack of literary prizes as if this is evidence of anything which for the literary set it probably is. As if the Booker prize winners will be remembered in a century. 'Boozy male braggadocio' gives away that it is Amis's masculinity and un-feminist attitude to women that are much of the problem though they have nothing to do with whether he is a good writer anymore than Larkin's racism. Amis Minor is equally dismissive of people who vote Conservative or believe in God by the way. He is a great writer, much better than almost any of his male or female contemporaries, to their annoyance, but I never finished London Fields and haven't felt tempted to try him again. ( I bought Money the morning it came out.) But he is probably the sexiest writer since Laclos.

Amanda Craig and all the other women writers dislike Amis because they are feminists and he makes remarks like (unwisely, in an interview with Lynne Barber) 'Look at the tits on that!'

Feminism is now a very dangerous ideology. (I think all ideologies are about justifying smallish groups of of people getting power, in this case clever university educated women who are allowed to do so under the guise of victims.) I just read a disgraceful article by Mary Beard from five years ago in LRB in which she describes Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor as blokish. A war hero, chevalier sans raproche, polyglot, polymath and sublime prose stylist but blokish.

Thank God I live in Romania where feminism has not arrived but it will. Unless some miracle happens like the Angels of Ypres to turn the cultural tide flowing from the West.

No comments:

Post a Comment