Books

Why Martin Amis Hates His New Biography

The first major biography of the British writer Martin Amis, a doorstop published earlier this year, began with the strange status of having Amis’s participation without being “authorized.” But Amis so disliked an early draft that he pulled out, and the Financial Times's Geoff Dyer thinks he knows why. No, it’s not author Richard Bradford’s revelations that Amis slept with lots of women and earned lots of money. It’s much more simple: “Amis is hyper-allergic to bad writing and seeing his life half-swaddled in Bradford’s sentences must have induced anaphylactic shock.” It might seem petty to trash a book of facts based on its stylistic shortcomings, but “as the subject of this biography has pointed out, style is not something added after the fact, like nice wrapping paper. It is the thing, the gift, itself.”