Inside Story: A novel (Vintage International) (Paperback)
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An autobiographical novel that’s a tender, witty exploration of the hardest questions: how to live, how to grieve, and how to die–from “the Mick Jagger of literature ... Amis is the most dazzling prose stylist in post-war British fiction” (The Daily Telegraph).
“[A] charismatic compound of fact and fiction ... Martin Amis has retained the power to surprise.” —Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
This novel had its birth in the death of Martin Amis's closest friend, the incomparable Christopher Hitchens, and it is within that profound and sprawling friendship that Inside Story unfurls. From their early days as young magazine staffers in London, reviewing romantic entanglements and the latest literary gossip (not to mention ideas, books, and where to lunch), Hitch was Amis's wingman and adviser, especially in the matter of the alluringly amoral Phoebe Phelps—an obsession Amis must somehow put behind him if he is ever to find love, marriage, a plausible run at happiness.
Other figures competing as Amis's main influencers are his literary fathers—Kingsley, of course; his hero Saul Bellow; the weirdly self-finessing poet Philip Larkin—and his significant literary mothers, including Iris Murdoch and Elizabeth Jane Howard. Moving among these greats to set his own path, he winds up surveying the horrors of the twentieth century, and the still-unfolding impact of the 9/11 attacks on the twenty-first--and considers what all of this has taught him about how to live and how to be a writer.
The result is a love letter to life—and to the people in his life—that achieves a new level of confidentiality with his readers, giving us the previously unseen portrait of his extraordinary world.
About the Author
MARTIN AMIS is the author of fourteen previous novels, the memoir Experience, two collections of stories, and seven nonfiction books. He lives in Brooklyn.
“[A] charismatic compound of fact and fiction.... Includes some of Amis’s best writing to date.” —The New York Times
“Warm, generous and deeply moving, whether on the subject of fatherhood, love or friendship.... The finest work he’s produced.” —The Observer
“His most beautiful book.” —New York Times Book Review
“A five-course meal of a book.... It’s a memoir tucked inside an endearingly discursive novel.” —Vanity Fair, “The Fifteen Best Books of 2020”
“Brilliant ... Abounds with entertaining anecdotes ... [Amis] explores the rich terrain of how matters of the heart (and loins) inform art ... Stylistically, Inside Story is most reminiscent of Dylan’s Chronicles, a master artist following his muse to create a genre-defying and career-defining work.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Amis' newest novel [is] unlike anything Amis has written. It's unlike anything anyone has written.... Inside Story is the 71-year old writer’s death-haunted ode to life.” —Esquire
“The great lines come flying at you, as always, volleyed out of the cleft of the book and into the magic space beneath your raised eyebrows ... and there are good jokes, too.... [Amis] wants to lance the moment with language, and he wants his language to live forever.” —The Atlantic
“Inside Story is a book of gloriously unchecked preoccupations: sex, Saul Bellow, literature, sex, Philip Larkin, anti-Semitism, aging, smoking, sex, Christopher Hitchens, terrorism, suicide. Did I mention sex? ... Fans will revel in the excess and piling up of Amis’s sentences, which are both wired and ruthlessly controlled.” —Vogue
“This once-young buck of the British literary scene cannot help but look death, mortality, and the meaning of life squarely in the face. And he does so with a singular panache and much offhanded wit.... [Inside Story] caps Amis’s estimable literary career with cheeky candor and more than a touch of razzle-dazzle.” —BookPage