Visiting Mrs Nabokov : And Other Excursions Paperback
by Martin Amis
Fuelled by innumerable cigarettes, Martin Amis provides dazzling portraits of contemporaries and mentors alike: Larkin and Rushdie; Greene and Pritchett; Ballard and Burgess and Nicholson Baker; John Updike - warts and all.
Vigorously zipping across to Washington, he exposes the double-think of nuke-speak; in New Orleans the Republican Convention gets a going over. And then there's sport: he visits the world of darts and its disastrous attempt to clean itself up; dirty tricks in the world of chess; and some brisk but vicious poker with Al Alvarez and David Mamet.
Sex without Madonna, expulsion from school, a Stones gig that should have been gagged, on set with Robocop or on court with Gabriela Sabatini, this is Martin Amis at his electric best.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 07/04/2005
- Category: Literary essays
- ISBN: 9780099461876
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Review by edwinbcn
Warily looking back through these pieces, I glimpse a series of altered or vanished worlds, icluding those of my younger and much younger selves. (p. ix)Martin Amis is often remarkably candid in his introductions. His wary looks at his work could serve as a warning to the reader: not much of interest here.The journalistic work of Martin Amis deserves neither to be called essays, nor literary criticism. The written pieces collected in Visiting Mrs Nabokov, and other excursions were all written between 1977 and 1990, but appear in no particular order. They lack both depth and inspiration. Most are occasional pieces that served that purpose in another time, describing people and habits that are now either long dead or disappeared. None of them demonstrate any particular insight or essaistic interest to lift them to a higher level, nor is there the suggestion that the selection presents a coherent choice of authors and works that might lead to a better understanding of Martin Amis.Most of the pieces are too short, an average length of eight pages, to develop an interesting point of view. Besides literary pieces, consisting of reviews and interviews, there are journalistic pieces about other topics, including tennis, chess, the Rolling Stones, the Frankfurt Book Fair, RoboCop II, Cannes, Carnival and Madonna.Several of the pieces are written in the chummy style, tpical of Martin Amis which suggests that he himself is the binding factor, acting at the same level, forcing himself as much into the spotlight as the object of his writing. Thus, authors who are described or interviewed are often deliberately described as being very close to Amis himself.