As a journalist, critic, and novelist, Martin Amis has always turned his keen intellect and unrivaled prose loose on an astonishing range of topics—politics, sports, celebrity, America, and, of course, literature. Collected here is some of his best nonfiction work from over two decades. Amis writes about finally confronting the effects of aging on his athletic prowess. He revisits the worlds of Bellow and Nabokov, his “twin peaks,” masters who have obsessed and inspired him. And he turns his piercingly observant eye on Donald Trump, whom he finds “scowling out from under an omelette of makeup” in the run-up to the 2016 Republican Convention, and at a post-election rally, regarding his crowd of supporters with a “flat sneer of Ozymandian hauteur.”
Overflowing with startling and singular turns of phrase, and complete with new commentary by the author, The Rub of Time is a vital addition to any bookshelf, and the perfect primer for readers discovering Amis’s fierce talents for the first time.
About the Author
MARTIN AMIS is the author of fourteen novels, the memoir Experience, two collections of stories, and six previous nonfiction books. He lives in Brooklyn.
“The product of a ferocious yet sensitive mind . . . Amis’s book is like hurtling down a black-diamond ski run. . . . His aim is so unerring that he resembles a figure out of Greek myth, firing arrows through ax-heads lined up in a row.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“A must-have anthology for Amis aficionados and a worthy best-of compilation for everyone else . . . provocative and thought-provoking. . . . Again and again Amis reinforces his points with eloquence and persuasiveness . . . fierce intellect, mordant humor and critical eye.”—Malcolm Forbes, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“The Rub of Time is cause for celebration.”—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
“Readers will come for Amis’s prose, which withstands even the most pedestrian subjects [as] his paragraphs bring to mind an Olympic slalomer, executing a series of tight, hard pivots, each marking a punch line, a critical insight, a dramatic turn, or a moment of horror.”—Nathaniel Rich, The New York Review of Books
“The book’s heart [is] its literary criticism, labor that allows Amis to realize his most comfortable and integrated self: a novelist engaged in the scrupulous appreciation of others’ style. . . . Amis cherishes the most cosmopolitan virtue of all, humor, [and] approvingly quotes Clive James’s observation that ‘common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing.’ To be without one is to be without the other, a double lack that would doom a writer [to] the inability to rub up against human nature, to strike the sparks of awareness and style that here illuminate everything, especially the books in Amis’s firm grip.”—Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker
“[The Rub of Time] coupled with [Amis’s] The War Against Cliché . . . represent the literary essay at its wittiest and most lucid.”—Kurt Wenzel, The East Hampton Star
“Amis writes with buoyant and cutting authority. His vocabulary, cross-pollinated by his trans-Atlantic reading and life, is pinpoint and peppery; his syntax supple and ensnaring. The pleasure Amis takes in observation, cogitation, and composition is palpable, and he is acidly funny. . . Amis writes with agility, spirit, artistry, and a shrewd sense of the deepest implications.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist
“Amis is infallibly a lucid, linguistically precise commentator. . . . A witty, welcome presence.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Amis is] a close and sensitive reader of literature and culture, his language erudite and complex. . . . He is a savvy, biting writer who still manages an engaging, conversational tone. Any reader seeking an introduction to the books he spends time with, or a new perspective on our sometimes chaotic culture, will enjoy this collection.”—Library Journal