Books by Martin Amis, 1973-Present
All titles linked to Random House; click here for the Amis author page at Random House UK, which features excerpts and "mini-sites" for select novels.
Also see the Excerpts page of this website for rarities such as Amis's first play and selections from Invasion of the Space Invaders -- plus selections from many of the novels.
For a glimpse of Amis's writing room at his former Notting Hill home click here or here
London: Jonathan Cape, 1973; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974; London: Penguin, 1984; New York: Vintage, 1992.
Opening: "My name is Charles Highway, though you wouldn't
think it to look at me. It's such a rangy, well-travelled, big-cocked name and, to look at, I am none of these. I wear glasses for a start, have done since I was nine. And my medium-length, arseless waistless figure, corrugated ribcage and bandy legs gang up to dispel any hint of aplomb."
London: Jonathan Cape, 1975; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976; New York: Penguin, 1984; New York: Harmony, 1988; New York: Vintage, 1991. Republished as Dark Secrets, St. Albans: Triad/Panther Books, 1977.
Opening: "There were five bedrooms. In the master suite, on knees and elbows, Giles Coldstream was crawling around the floor in search of the telephone, both hands cupped tightly over his mouth. The curling green cord eventually led him to a heap of spent gin bottles beneath his desk."
SuccessLondon: Jonathan Cape, 1978; London: Penguin, 1985; New York: Harmony Books, 1987; New York: Vintage Books, 1992.
Opening: "It seems that I've lost all the things that used to be nice about me -- Terry ...
Gregory was in fact sitting next door at the kitchen table, his hands palm-upwards on its grained surface. 'Success?' he asked. I nodded and he sighed."
London: Jonathan Cape, 1981; New York: Viking, 1981; London: Penguin, 1982.
Opening: "This is a confession, but a brief one.
I didn't want to have to do it to her. I would have infinitely preferred some other solution. Still, there we are. It makes sense, really, given the rules of life on earth; and she asked for it. I just wish there was another way, something more self-contained, economical, and shapely.... That's life, as I say, and my most sacred duty is to make it lifelike. Oh, hell. Let's get it over with."
Invasion of the Space Invaders
London: Hutchinson, 1982; Millbrae, CA: Celestial Arts, 1982.
One of the rarest of Amis's first editions; also one of the most expensive. From the Fantastic Fiction website: "Remember those early arcade games... if so then this is a great trip down memory lane.... Its a difficult book to find, but for anyone interested in retrogaming this is the nearest thing they will get to time travel, 1982 never felt so close."
See the Commentary section of the Amis Web for an excerpt.
Money: A Suicide Note
London: Jonathan Cape, 1984; New York: Viking, 1985; New York: Penguin, 1986. The first chapter of Money originally appeared in 1983 in the British journal Granta (volume 7)
Opening: "As my cab pulled off FDR Drive, somewhere in the early Hundreds, a low-slung Tomahawk full of black guys came sharking out of lane and sloped in fast right across our bows. We banked, and hit a deep welt or grapple-ridge in the road: to the sound of a rifle-shot the cab roof ducked down and smacked me on the core of my head. I really didn't need that, I tell you, with my head and face and back and heart hurting a lot all the time anyway, and still drunk and crazed and ghosted from the plane."
London: Jonathan Cape, 1986; New York: Viking, 1987; London: Penguin, 1987.
Introduction: "On a couple of occasions I have been asked to
write a book about America; and I must have spent at least four
or five minutes contemplating this monstrous enterprise.... Then, years later, as I was up-ending my desk drawers to prepare a selection of occasional journalism ... I found that I had already written a book about America..."
London: Jonathan Cape, 1987; New York: Harmony, 1987; London: Penguin, 1988; New York: Vintage, 1990. The short story "Bujack and the Strong Force" was originally published in the London Review of Books 7 (6 June 1985): 11-14.
Introduction: "I was born on August 25, 1949: four days later, the Russians successfully tested their first atom bomb, and deterrence was in place. So I had those four carefree days, which is more than my juniors ever had.... Even as things stood, I was born in a state of acute shock."
London: Jonathan Cape, 1989; New York: Harmony, 1989; London: Penguin, 1990; New York, Vintage, 1991. The first three chapters originally appeared as "The Murderee" in 1988 in the British journal Granta (volume 25).
Opening: "This is a true story but I can't believe it's really happening. It's a murder story, too. I can't believe my luck. And a love story (I think), of all strange things, so late in the century, so late in the goddamned day.
This is the story of a murder. It hasn't happened yet. But it will. (It had better.) I know the murderer, I know the murderee. I know the time, I know the place."
Time's Arrow, or The Nature of the OffenseLondon: Jonathan Cape, 1991; New York: Harmony, 1991; New York: Viking, 1991; London: Penguin, 1992; New York: Vintage, 1992. Originally published in three installments in Granta, volumes 33, 34 and 36.
Opening: "I moved forward, out of the blackest sleep, to find myself surrounded by doctors ... American doctors: I sensed their vigor, scarcely held in check, like the profusion of their body hair; and the forbidding touch of their forbidding hands -- doctor's hands, so strong, so clean, so aromatic. Although my paralysis was pretty well complete, I did find that I could move my eyes. At any rate, my eyes moved."
Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other Excursions
London: Jonathan Cape, 1993; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994; New York: Harmony, 1994.
Introduction: "Warily looking back through these pieces, I glimpse a series of altered or vanished worlds, including those of my younger and much younger selves. Things change. Graham Greene is dead. Vera Nabokov is dead. Salman Rushdie is still alive, and still in hiding..."
London: HarperCollins, 1995; New York: Harmony, 1995; New York: Vintage, 1996. A version of the novel's opening was published as "Author, Author" in Granta (volume 47). A section of Part Three was published as "What Brings You To Our Fair Land?" in the New Yorker (6 March 1995): 108-17.
Opening: "Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing. It's nothing. Just sad dreams. Or something like that ... Swing low in your weep ship, with your tear scans and your sob probes, and you would mark them."
London: Jonathan Cape, 1997; New York: Harmony, 1998; New York: Vintage, 1999.
Opening: "I am a police. That may sound like an unusual statement -- or an unusual construction. But it's a parlance we have. Among ourselves, we would never say I am a policeman or
I am a policewoman or I am a police officer. We would just say I am a police. I am a police. I am a police and my name is
Detective Mike Hoolihan. And I am a woman, also."
Heavy Water and Other Stories
London: Jonathan Cape, 1998; New York: Harmony, 1999; New York: Vintage, 2000.
"Career Move" originally appeared in The New Yorker (29 June 1992: 30-38); "Denton's Death" in Encounter (October 1976: 3-5); "State of England" in The New Yorker (June 24 & July 1 1996: 92-107); "Let Me Count the Times" in Granta 4 (1981: 194-207); "The Coincidence of the Arts" in Granta 63 (Autumn 1998: 207-242). "Heavy Water" in New Statesman (December 22 & 29 1978: 874-76); "Straight Fiction" in Esquire (December 1995: 138-48); and "What Happened to Me on My Holiday" in The New Yorker (July 21, 1996: 64-67).
London: Jonathan Cape, 2000; New York: Talk Miramax, 2000; New York: Vintage, 2001.
Excerpt: "In the arts, when the parent invites the child to follow -- this is a complicated offer, and there will always be a suspicion of egotism in it. Is the child's promise a tribute to the super-abundance of the father's gifts? And historically what long odds you face ... What usually happens is that the child is productive for a while, and then the filial rivalrousness plays itself out. I think literary talent is strongly inherited. But literary stamina is not."
The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews, 1971-2000London: Jonathan Cape, 2001; New York: Talk Miramax, 2001; New York: Vintage, 2002.
Excerpt: "And we, in the Seventies, were frequently ridiculous, too, with our Fallacies and our Seven Types (and Leavis's besieged intensity was ridiculous. His shaping embarrassment, however, was to nominate as his model for sanity the person of D.H. Lawrence). Emotional egalitarian-ism, for example, looks hard to attack. I honour it, in a way, but it has to me the pale glow of illusion.... Then, too, these 'feelings' are seldom unadulterated; they are admixtures of herd opinions and social anxieties, vanities, touchinesses, and everything else that makes up a self."
Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million
London: Jonathan Cape, 2002; New York: Talk Miramax, 2002; New York, Vintage, 2003.
Excerpt: "The descriptions of these train rides match anything in the literature of the Shoah. I thought for a moment that there might be a qualitative difference: the absence of children, or at least the absence of their ubiquity. But the entire families of the 'kulaks,' the targeted peasants, were deported and encamped in their millions during the early 1930s alone; ... No, the children were there, as victims, and not just on the transports. About 1 million children died in the Holocaust. About 3 million children died in the Terror-Famine of 1933."
London: Jonathan Cape, 2003; New York: Talk Miramax, 2003; New York, Vintage, 2004.
Opening: "But I go to Hollywood but I go to hospital, but you are first but you are last, but he is tall but she is small, but you stay up but you go down, but we are rich but we are poor, but they find peace but they find ...
Xan Meo went to Hollywood. And, minutes later, with urgent speed, and accompanied by choric howls of electrified distress, Xan Meo went to hospital. Male violence did it."
New York and London: Vintage, 2004.
Publisher's Synopsis: "Vintage Amis displays [Amis's] versatility in an excerpt from the author’s award-winning memoir, Experience; the “Horrorday” chapter from London Fields; a vignette from his novel Money; the stories “State of England,” “Insight at Flam Lake,” and “Coincidence of the Arts”; and the essays “Visiting Mrs. Nabokov,” “Phantom of the Opera.”
London: Jonathan Cape, 18 September 2006. New York, Knopf, 16 January 2007.
Publisher's Synopsis: "There were conjugal visits in the slave camps of the USSR.... The consequences of these liaisons were almost invariably tragic. House of Meetings is about one such liaison. It is a triangular romance: two brothers fall in love with the same girl, a nineteen-year-old Jewess, in Moscow, which is poised for pogrom in the gap between the war and the death of Stalin. Both brothers are arrested, and their rivalry slowly complicates itself over a decade in the slave camp above the Arctic Circle."
The Second Plane
London: Jonathan Cape, 1 March 2008; New York: Knopf, 1 April 2008. The first title in a new four-book deal.
From the Introduction: "If September 11 had to happen, I am not at all sorry that it happened in my lifetime. That day and what followed from it: this is a narrative of misery and pain, and also of desperate fascination. Geopolitics may not be my natural subject, but masculinity is. And have we ever seen the male idea in such outrageous garb as the robes, combat fatigues, suits and ties, jeans, tracksuits and medic’s smocks of the Islamic radical?"
The Pregnant Widow
London: Jonathan Cape, 4 February 2010; New York: Knopf, 11 May 2010.
From the opening: "Keith would be staying, for the duration of this hot, endless, and erotically decisive summer, in a castle on a mountainside above a village in Campania, in Italy. And now he walked the backstreets of Montale, from car to bar, at dusk, flanked by two twenty-year-old blondes, Lily and Scheherazade ..."."