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Martin Amis, 61 today, on ageing

Martin AmisMartin Amis is 61 today. Happy birthday. Here's his own take on ageing from his latest novel, The Pregnant Widow, published this year. Martin Amis – never amiss with words:

This is the way it goes. In your mid-forties, you have your first crisis of mortality (death will not ignore me); and ten years later you have your first crisis of age (my body whispers that death is already intrigued by me). But something very interesting happens to you in between.

As the fiftieth birthday approaches, you get the sense that your life is thinning out, and will continue to thin out, until it thins out into nothing. And you sometimes say to yourself: That went a bit quick. That went a bit quick. In certain moods, you may want to put it rather more forcefully. As in OY!! THAT went a BIT FUCKING QUICK!!!… Then fifty comes and goes, and fifty-one and fifty-two. And life thickens out again. Because there is now an enormous and unsuspected presence within your being, like an undiscovered continent. This is the past.

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Kingsley Amis and Martin Amis

The publication of Martin Amis' new novel, The Pregnant Widow, has also turned the spotlight on his father, Kingsley Amis. A writer in the Guardian fondly recalled The Old Devils, the Kingsley Amis novel, which won the Booker Prize in 1986.

That's the prize that continues to elude Martin Amis. But that doesn't detract from his fame and success and talent as a writer. He is one of the best though not as prolific as his father. Their gifts extend beyond the novel, but I found it impossible to include all the non-fiction in these charts.

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