Much in the news of late (because of the publication of his new novel The Pregnant Widow), Martin Amis has regularly used the media opportunities he's been given to spout any amount of risible bunk. Here on ReadySteadyBook, Anthony Cummins takes Amis to task for his comments about J.M. Coetzee:

What’s most revealing about Prospect’s recent interview with Martin Amis isn’t his opinion of JM Coetzee – “he’s got no talent” – but the evidence he cites to support it. (It’s hardly a surprise, after all, that the cool wit of a writer whose PhD thesis looks at the manuscript revisions to Samuel Beckett’s Watt should hold no appeal for a man whose aversion to Beckett, vented after “a couple of hundred glasses of wine”, once drove Salman Rushdie to the brink of violence.) Put to one side what Amis says about the Nobel laureate being no fun, since that’s a matter of taste, and in any case isn’t exactly an original point to make about an author whose best-known book pivots on a gang rape. Of greater interest – because it suggests how blithely Amis can pass off wilful ignorance as critical rigour – is the moment where he tries to convince his interviewer, Tom Chatfield, that cliché is the enemy of literary value (more...)

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