British novelist Martin Amis, who brought a rock-and-roll sensibility to his stories and was part of a generation that redefined the literary landscape in the 1980s, has died at his Florida home. He was 73. His wife, writer Isabel Fonseca, said he had esophageal cancer.
He published 15 novels, a memoir and other works of nonfiction over the course of his long career. The most famous of his books were the London trilogy – 1985’s Money, 1990’s London Fields and 1995’s The Information – which became the touchstone for a group of writers that included Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes.
A critic described him as “a dazzling prose stylist who sounded like he was having a good time.” Amis was renowned for his style and his acerbic wit. But he also had the ability to make the ordinary seem extraordinary and to turn the mundane into an epic.
Known for his flamboyant lifestyle and close friendship with the late Christopher Hitchens, he was part of a group of writers that helped to reinvigorate the British literary scene in the 1980s, including Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes and James Fenton.
He had a reputation for being uncompromising, and was often accused of misogyny and Islamophobia. Despite these accusations, he was an admirable man, a warm friend and a great father to his children, including Fernanda, Clio and Delilah, the daughter of his short-lived relationship with actress Lamorna Seale.
Amis was born in 1949 in Oxford and studied English at Exeter College, graduating in 1971 with a first. He went on to work for the Times Literary Supplement. He later taught English at the University of Oxford before moving to the US, where he married Fonseca in 1996. The couple had two sons, Louis and Jacob.
In the early 1990s Amis was at the peak of his literary powers. He was handing out big advances and his work was generating buzz in the gossip columns. But he was also facing allegations of misogyny and Islamophobia, which he firmly rejected.
Amis is survived by Fonseca and the children he had with her, Louis, Jacob and Clio. He was the son of acclaimed writer Kingsley Amis and brother to journalist Simon Amis. The death of the one-time enfant terrible is being mourned by fans around the world, just days after the film adaptation of his book Zone Of Interest premiered at Cannes. The news of his death triggered social media tributes. A spokesman for the publisher said on Saturday that he had died at his home in Lake Worth, Florida. The cause of death was esophageal cancer, the spokesman said. It is the same disease that killed the friend and fellow novelist Christopher Hitchens in 2011. The writer was 73 years old. He was the author of 14 novels including 1984’s Money and 1989’s London Fields, and was listed twice for the Booker prize. His memoir, Experience, won the James Tait Black prize.