The Information

What separates Richard and I, and yes, thankfully, there are a few significantcharacteristics, is Richard's obsessive desire to fuck up his best friend/worst enemy,Gwyn Barry, who by happenstance and popular avalanche, finds himself atop thepulp-charts with a number of books of mass-appeal and thus putrefied fiction. PoorRichard, who fancies himself one of those "greater prodigies of obscurity andpauperism," who sees himself "up there among the big-league sufferers, with Job, withGriselda, with Milton's Adam, with Milton's Eve," watches in horror as Gwyn grows moreand more famous every day. And so the envy takes seed and begins to grow serpintininglythrough his insecurities.So, too, am I spared the creeping impotence Richard finds himself facing. His wife,Gina, mother of his twin sons, bites the patience bullet everyday. For who wants to bemarried to a writer; writers, as Amis puts it, are nightmares. She's waiting for Richardto produce saleable writing, and she's waiting for Richard to produce a workableerection. These and other imbroglios twist and entwine, leading Richard to enterLondon's underbellyworld to seek out a thug to bug Gwyn.God damn you, though, couldn't you just write one of your normal novels, where thesesorts of situations and concomitant sentiments are unmitigated by no more than a smidgenof insight into the origins of these caustic human flaws. Sure, your customary virtuosovitriolics are cooking, your macro-acrobatics of ledger-demain, but in TheInformation you're barking up an altogether different tree as well. There's painthere. There's beauty there.Yeah, we've read the tabloid stuff, and the Bigwigs giving you a hard time in theBigwig publications. All about you breaking up with your wife, mother to your two sons.All about you hooking up with an American woman, and an American agent, and gettingyo'-self a huge advance (just under a million). All about your dad Kingsley, and livingin the lip and lap of literature. We know all that crap, all the chip-shouldered Britishbadboy crap. The big bad wolf baying at the straw houses of self-deception crap. Hedon't take no shit crap.We can imagine you've grown up fettered in pages, in typewriters and cigarettes,erudite chitchats and ivory tower whatnots, and rebelled and grown wicked in yourhobbledehoyboy way. And would that I could dismiss The Information, the way I'veread, enjoyed, and quickly forgotten the aching patriarchy of some of your other works,save for your magnificent Time's Arrow. The Information cannot be dispatchedto some far region of intellectual interest. No, it sticks to the ribs because it rubsagainst the heart.And as a first-person intraloper you postmodernly intrude upon the narrative, astronomyand gastronomy, fabricating points of view, dissembling and disassembling, creatingfractals of the very novel itself. Then there are those impossible diamonds ofcrystalline phrasing. Those simply put sentences, like the one about envy being, atbase, the "fear of desertion." Well, you hit the steaming nail on the stinking head thattime, Martin, and who woulda ever thought they'd be reading Martin Amis, tour-de-farceand tour-de-guide Martin Amis, and be swept away. Swept away and shed a tear.Of course I should've known. Your book begins:Cities as night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing.You're saying Something, Martin Amis, and I'm listening, no matter how much--andbecause--it hurts. And you're on your American tour this month. I would love to come andsee you, hear you read, but I can't. I'd even like to take a crack at really reviewingThe Information, but I'm too busy, you know, family and all, and I'm trying to geta short story done, too, something eminently unreadable, and by this weekend, Godforbid, I've got an 800 word review of a 1,500-page biography of an obscure Romanticpoet, entitled The Poet-Sensate, the Life and Soft Times of Lord Henry Deeter. Asyou can see, I'm in over my head.

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