Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day: Two Writers, Father and Son

I'm wishing all of you
a wonderful,
blessed, Father's Day!

In honor of this day,
I'd like to feature
a famous writer dad whose
son carried on the tradition!

Kingsley Amis and his son, Martin,
in the 1960's.
(image courtesy of The Telegraph, UK)

Sir Kingsley William Amis was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher.  He was born on April 16, 1922, and died on October 22, 1995. 

Amis published his first novel, Lucky Jim, in 1954.  The novel satirized British university life as well as the class structure of the time, and was considered part of the 1950's Angry Young Men movement, which criticized conventional British mores.  Other novels he wrote in the 1950's were realistic and funny, dealing with such subjects as love and sex, sometimes with an autobiographical outlook.

His 1966 novel, The Anti-Death League, was a marked departure from his earlier work.  Although not strictly science fiction, it was far from being as realistic as his earlier work, and was very experimental.  The Green Man (1969) and The Alteration (1976) also toyed with fantastical themes. 

Amis won the Booker Prize for The Old Devils in 1986.  He also produced essays and criticism during the 1950's, '60s, and '70s, primarily for newspaper publication. 

Kingsley Amis
Hardcover, 307 pages
Harcourt, Brace & World
(first American edition)
Genres: Literary Fiction, Social Satire

Further Information: 

Goodreads Profile

 Wikipedia article on Kingsley Amis

Speculative Fiction Database: Kingsley Amis Bibliography

Martin Amis, son of Kingsley Amis, was born on August 25, 1949, and is also a novelist.  He was hailed as "one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945" by the The New York Times in 2008. (from the Wikipedia article)

Although his own father was one of his literary influences, three other great writers shaped his style: Saul Bellow, who was also his mentor,  Vladimir Nabokov, and James Joyce

Amis's first novel, The Rachel Papers (1973), is, by the author's own admisson, somewhat autobiographical, and details the relationship between a teenage boy and his girlfriend, in the year preceding his entrance to university.  The novel won the prestigious Somerset Maughan Award the following year.

Amis's best-known novels are part of what is often referred to as his London trilogy.  The three books revolve around the lives of middle-aged men in late 20th-century England, and reflect the author's preoccupation with "the absurdity of the post-modern condition".  (from the Wikipedia article)

The first of these novels, Money, was published in 1984, and was included by Time in its list of the 100 best novels in English, published between 1923 and 2005.  It deals with one man's insatiable greed and the pleasures of life.

The second in the London trilogy, London Fields (1989), details the adventures of the three main characters in the London of 1999, on the verge of a natural disaster.  This novel caused controversy in the literary world because of the appalling treatment of women in the plot.  It was thus eliminated from the Booker Prize shortlist in 1989.

The third novel in the trilogy, The Information (1995), contrasts the success and failure of two very different authors who are friends, one of whom writes what are known as "airport novels", while the other writes more philosophically-inclined works.

Amis published his long-awaited long novel, The Pregnant Widow, in 2010.  It is the first in a planned series of four novels.  The theme of this novel is the feminist revolution, which Amis sees as incomplete.   In 2007, he remarked that "consciousness is not revolutionized by the snap of a finger".  (from the Wikipedia article on The Pregnant Widow)  

Martin Amis
Hardcover, 241 pages
January 16, 2007
Genre: Literary Fiction

Further Information:


  1. What a wonderful post for Father's Day! I have not read anything by these authors, but will have to give something a try.
    So, do you think that talent is hereditary? I hope not. If that is the case, I am in big trouble. I come from a family that doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to anything literary.

  2. Hey, Steph!

    Thanks for the compliment! Actually, I haven't read any of their books, either, but I specifically researched famous writers whose child or children were (are) also writers. Now I have two more authors whose books I want to read! (Maybe just one or two, though.)

    About talent being hereditary -- I do believe that! However, there are cases in which one family member stands out in one particular area, with no talent being apparent in any of the other members.

    Bookworms can appear in any family! Lol. In mine, I'm the only one. Mom was the closest thing to a bookworm when she was in her twenties. After she got married and we, the kids, started to arrive, well, her reading took a back seat... I've gone way beyond her, too, because I have a book ADDICTION. I am a compulsive book buyer, and yes, they ARE taking over the house!! My husband, alas, is not a bookworm, so I get 'lectured' from time to time...

    Thanks again for another great comment!! :D


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