Martin Amis, "the Mick Jagger of the pen"

He was the enfant terrible of British letters, a disruptive Peter Pan, the Mick Jagger of the pen

Martin Amis, "the Mick Jagger of the pen"

He was the enfant terrible of British letters, a disruptive Peter Pan, the Mick Jagger of the pen. Born in 1949 in Swansea, Martin Amis had grown up in the shadow of a famous father, the novelist Kingsley Amis, leader, with Philip Larkin, of the "Angry Young Men", this generation of authors who colored with insolence. post-war English gloom.

No doubt this heir was going to apply to the years 1980-1990 a scholarly effrontery which had become a vocation for scandal in him. In 1984, his novel Money, Money cast him as a chronicler of the cocaine abyss of the Wall Street years, a transatlantic epic with crazy brokers, crazy parties and high-tailored models.

Rogue, provocative, sharing with his alter ego, the essayist Christopher Hitchens, a taste for politically incorrect discord, this contemporary of Bret Easton Ellis had nevertheless chosen as masters Vladimir Nabokov and Saul Bellow, two classics of the 20th century.

From a conversation with him in 2013, we had retained a sense of the scathing formula, that of a sculptor of orality producing by the verb effects equivalent to a punk break-in. He was then defending his new novel, Lionel Asbo, the state of England, the story of a petty London delinquent who won the lottery for 40 million pounds sterling and whose life, between bimbos and anxiolytics, then tangent that of a star reality TV.

"Working-class culture today lags behind the media," he said. The way in which an Elton John has become, in my country, the queen mother of gossip, having authority over everything and anything, revolts me. He's an entertainer and seems to speak ex cathedra. What makes vulgarity become an interesting romantic subject. »

Martin Amis said he was happy to have grown up in an era that had seen the lifting of censorship on Lady Chatterley's Lover and the first Beatles record, standing in the satirist tradition of Fielding and Evelyn Waugh. Decried as a misogynist, this father of five children from three different beds nevertheless declared himself a "gynocrat", having cultivated a taste for "pretty, intelligent women" very early on - as well as his last wife, the novelist Isabel Fonseca.

A platinum-winning press columnist, professor of creative writing with staggering salaries – his fortune is estimated at 20 million dollars – this celebrated rebel nevertheless said that he chose as guests for an ideal dinner writers from the British tradition, Milton, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Dickens.

He disappears with the accession of a septuagenarian monarch who would undoubtedly have excited his verve. May this classic heretic rest in peace.