Martin Amis (left) describes seeing his father, Kingsley Amis (below), in a dream in his autobiography, Experience. Published in 2000, five years after his father's death, it's one of the most intimate accounts of a father-and-son relationship that I have ever read.
Why should I tell the story of my life?
I do it because my father is dead now, and I always knew I would have to commemorate him. He was a writer, and I am a writer; it feels like a duty to describe our case — a literary curiosity which is also just another instance of a father and a son.
He writes about his father explaining the mysteries of sex to him and his elder brother, Philip, when they were schoolboys and the conversations they had when he had grown up.
His father pops up even when he is writing about other things. He recalls the articles he published in the New Statesman following the death of the critic FR Leavis and calling them a "symposium". A symposium originally meant a drinking party, he says and adds:
And that is what Kingsley liked, above all things. Well, he probably liked adultery even better, in his manly noon, but the symposium was a far more durable and unambivalent pleasure — a love whose month was forever May.
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Juliet, Naked is a mash-up of my favourite Nick Hornby novels, covering the music scene like High Fidelity and exploring the relationship between kids and grownups like About A Boy. So, yes, it's entertaining. Probably, it would be even better as a movie. There are enough sweet and funny moments in this story about celebrity and the internet and the fragility of love and marriage.
I can't forget the scene where Tucker Crowe, a burnt-out American singer-songwriter, goes to bed with his biggest fan's live-in companion, Annie — and his six-year-old son, Jackson, walks in.
Jackson wants to sleep with his father. He knows his parents have reached breaking point and is afraid his father might die because Tucker has just had an operation.
Hornby knows children's needs and fears.
He says in this video:
Jackson does have a relationship with my six-year-old in that he went through a period, thankfully now stopped, of being incredibly worried about everybody's mortality.
Continue reading “Juliet, Naked and Nick Hornby: A bit of his life”