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Martin Amis, British novelist, dies at 73

Martin Amis, the influential British author best known for his novels Money: A Suicide Note, London Fields, and The Information, has died. He was 73.

His wife, Isabel Fonseca, told The New York Times that Amis died Friday at his home in Lake Worth, Fla., following a battle with esophageal cancer. It is the same illness that his close friend and fellow writer Christopher Hitchens also died from, which Amis addressed in his 2020 novel, Inside Story.

Over the course of his career, Amis published more than 30 works of fiction and nonfiction alongside several essay collections, short stories, screenplays, and a 2000 memoir titled Experience. His oeuvre was known for its dark, obscene, and satirical subject matter, especially his most famous books, commonly referred to as the London trilogy. Those novels told a series of separate stories about middle-aged men living in the city and their seedy, sordid shenanigans.

Martin Amis
Martin Amis

Agf/Shutterstock Martin Amis

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"What I've tried to do is to create a high style to describe low things: the whole world of fast food, sex shows, nude mags," Amis told The New York Times in 1985. "I'm often accused of concentrating on the pungent, rebarbative side of life in my books, but I feel I'm rather sentimental about it. Anyone who reads the tabloid papers will rub up against much greater horrors than I describe."

Several of Amis' books drew inspiration from historical events, including Time's Arrow and The Zone of Interest, which feature tales about the Holocaust.

Amis' novels also served as inspiration for several films, including 2000's Dead Babies, 2018's Out of the Blue, and this year's The Zone of Interest, which premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival on the day of his death. He also penned the screenplay for the 1980 movie Saturn 3, starring Kirk Douglas, which later served as the inspiration for Money: A Suicide Note.

Born in Oxford, England, Amis was the son of late British writer Sir Kingsley Amis and later explored his complex relationship with his father in his 2000 memoir. In 1973, Amis released his first novel, The Rachel Papers, which not only won the Somerset Maugham Award, but would later be adapted into the 1989 cult classic starring Dexter Fletcher, Ione Skye, Jonathan Pryce, and James Spader.

Amis and his literary pals — which included Julian Barnes, James Fenton, Salman Rushdie, and Ian McEwan — are widely credited with influencing future generations of British writers.

In a review of Inside Story, EW critic Leah Greenblatt described Amis' final novel as "a giant octopus of a book spritzing out regular inky puffs of lit-world gossip, historical digressions, romantic confessions, and vintage score-settling, with footnotes."

"His great Martin-y mind is still a thing to marvel at, all the clever wordplay and synaptic leaps," she wrote, "but it's the tender, ordinary moments — watching old movies with a gently addled Bellow, eating Tex-Mex near the Houston hospital where 'Hitch' spent his last days — that stay."

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