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Martin Amis's Quotes

Martin Amis profile photo

Born: 1949-08-25
Profession: Author
Nation: British
Biography of Martin Amis

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When we read, we are doing more than delectating words on a page stories, characters, images, notions. We are communing with the mind of the author.

Tags: Mind, Read, Words

You cannot combine being a movie star with not being a movie star.

Tags: Cannot, Movie, Star

All my adult life I have been searching for the right adjective to describe my father's peculiarly aggressive comic style. I recently settled on 'defamatory.'

Tags: Father, Life, Style

Deciding to write a novel about something - as opposed to finding you are writing a novel around something - sounds to me like a good evocation of writer's block.

Tags: Good, Write, Writing

Everything seems fine until you're about 40. Then something is definitely beginning to go wrong. And you look in the mirror with your old habit of thinking, 'While I accept that everyone grows old and dies, it's a funny thing, but I'm an exception to that rule.'

Tags: Funny, Old, Thinking

I am, incidentally, the only writer to have received the Somerset Maugham award twice - the first time for my first novel, the second time for my second first novel.

Tags: Second, Time, Writer

It's an ancient idea that the leader of a democracy should not be the cleverest but the most average. That's an arguable point, but the world has decided otherwise - except in America, where it still divides the country right down the middle.

Tags: America, Country, Democracy

It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that the world is there to be celebrated by writers, and in fact this is what all the good ones do, and that the great fashion for gloom and grimness was in fact a false path that certain writers took, I think in response to the horrors of the first half of the twentieth century.

Tags: Fashion, Good, Great

Jane was my wicked stepmother: she was generous, affectionate and resourceful; she salvaged my schooling and I owe her an unknowable debt for that. One flaw: sometimes, early on, she would tell me things designed to make me think less of my mother, and I would wave her away, saying, 'Jane, this just backfires and makes me think less of you.'

Tags: Mother, Saying, Sometimes

Kingsley Amis was a lenient father. His paternal style, in the early years, can best be described as amiably minimalist - in other words, my mother did it all.

Tags: Best, Father, Mother

Language leads a double life - and so does the novelist. You chat with family and friends, you attend to your correspondence, you consult menus and shopping lists, you observe road signs, and so on. Then you enter your study, where language exists in quite another form - as the stuff of patterned artifice.

Tags: Family, Friends, Life

People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children's book. I say, 'If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children's book', but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you're directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable.

Tags: Book, Children, Freedom

Several people, not just reviewers, took me to task for writing about what they called the working classes - something I've been doing for 40 years. I thought that was contemptible - what do they want to do, ghettoize the working class as a subject? Can you only write about your own class? I've written about royalty, am I not allowed to do that?

Tags: Thought, Working, Writing

Tennis: the most perfect combination of athleticism, artistry, power, style, and wit. A beautiful game, but one so remorselessly travestied by the passage of time.

Tags: Beautiful, Power, Time

The middle class is doing fine in fiction. But it's not what gets me going. I love the working class, and everyone from it I've met, and think they're incredibly witty, inventive - there's a lot of poetry there.

Tags: Love, Poetry, Working

The process of writing a novel begins with a pang, a moment of recognition, and a situation, a character, or something you read in a paper, that seems to go off, like a solar flare inside your head.

Tags: Character, Moment, Writing

The process of writing a novel is getting to know more about the novel until you know everything about it. And it's been described as a kind of dreamlike state where you're letting the novel make its own shape, and you're putting into it the pleasure of creation, which is intoxicating.

Tags: Getting, Until, Writing

Watching an adaptation of your novel can be a violent experience: seeing your old jokes suddenly thrust at you can be alarming. But I started to enjoy 'Money' very quickly, and then I relaxed.

Tags: Enjoy, Experience, Money

When I wrote 'The Pregnant Widow' three or four years ago, I tried to reread my first novel, 'The Rachel Papers,' because their young heroes are the same age. I couldn't finish it. It seemed to me so technically slapdash and weak.

Tags: Age, Three, Young

Money doesn't mind if we say it's evil, it goes from strength to strength. It's a fiction, an addiction, and a tacit conspiracy.

Tags: Mind, Money, Strength

Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.

Tags: Cannot, Gun, Taken

Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb, and the rose grow without thorn.

Tags: Art, Lie, Rose

When I go back to the core of my childhood, my cousin Lucy seems always to be in the peripheral vision of my memories. She is off to one side, always off to one side, with a book, with a scheme or a project or an enterprise.

Tags: Book, Off, She

All novelists write in a different way, but I always write in longhand and then do two versions of typescript on a computer.

Tags: Computer, Novelists, Write

All writers of fiction will at some point find themselves abandoning a piece of work - or find themselves putting it aside, as we gently say.

Tags: Point, Themselves, Work

Every 10 years you're a different person, and the really great books evolve with you as you get older. They're full of new rewards.

Tags: Books, Great, Older
Much more quotes by Martin Amis below the page.

Every writer hopes or boldly assumes that his life is in some sense exemplary, that the particular will turn out to be universal.

Tags: Life, Sense, Turn

I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write.

Tags: Forced, Someone, Write

If every inhabitant of a liberal democracy believes in liberal democracy, then it doesn't matter what creed or colour they are.

Tags: Democracy, Liberal, Matter

If God existed, and if He cared for humankind, He would never have given us religion.

Tags: Cared, God, Religion

In America, the policeman is a working-class hero. In England, the policeman is a working-class traitor.

Tags: America, Hero, Traitor

It is very difficult, it is perhaps impossible, for someone who loves his mother to love the woman whom your father left her for.

Tags: Father, Love, Mother

Like fundamentalist Judaism and medieval Christianity, Islam is totalist. That is to say, it makes a total claim on the individual.

Tags: Individual, Islam, Makes

My literary career kicked off in 1956 when, as a resident of Swansea, South Wales, I published my first novel, 'Lucky Jim.'

Tags: Career, Lucky, Off

No novel has ever changed anything, as far as I can see.

Tags: Changed, Far, Novel

Novelists are stamina merchants, grinders, nine-to-fivers, and their career curves follow the usual arc of human endeavour.

Tags: Career, Follow, Human

Novelists don't age as quickly as philosophers, who often face professional senility in their late twenties.

Tags: Age, Face, Often

Novelists tend to go off at 70, and I'm in a funk about it, I've got myself into a real paranoid funk about it, how the talent dies before the body.

Tags: Off, Real, Talent

Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb, and the rose grow without the thorn.

Tags: Art, Lie, Rose

Present-day Spain translates as many books into Spanish, annually, as the Arab world has translated into Arabic in the past 1,100 years.

Tags: Books, Past, Spanish

Style is not neutral; it gives moral directions.

Tags: Moral, Neutral, Style

The literary interview won't tell you what a writer is like. Far more compellingly to some, it will tell you what a writer is like to interview.

Tags: Far, Tell, Won

Very broadly, literature concerns itself with the internal, cinema with the external.

Tags: Cinema, Concerns, Literature

Weapons are like money; no one knows the meaning of enough.

Tags: Enough, Meaning, Money