Martin Amis (1949–2023) died in May as both the preeminent satiric novelist of his generation and also a perpetual whipping boy. Never did he produce the book that united the critics in praise, sold explosively, and swept all the awards (or indeed any award—the most prestigious honor any of his books ever received was the Somerset Maugham Award for the best novel written by someone under thirty-five, which he got for his 1973 rookie effort, The Rachel Papers). The Booker Prize, so often granted to the creatively inert but politically correct, never came his way; only once (for his Holocaust-in-reverse novel Time’s Arrow) was he even shortlisted.

Amis was sometimes described as the angriest of writers. This is wrong. His humor was incandescent with delight. But he may have been the leading cause of...


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