We will be asking for this for Christmas
Amis’ autobiographical novel finds him lamenting the inevitable decline of the intellect, the loss of those powers that nourish a rich interiority and fuel the creative life.
This brilliant hybrid work is proof positive that his fears are ill-founded and premature. Drawing on a lifetime of literary and cultural influences, from his father, Kingsley, to family friend Philip Larkin, Amis muses on the process whereby life becomes art and, occasionally, vice versa.
He writes poignantly about Saul Bellow and the Nobel laureate’s slide into dementia. He explores the rich terrain of how matters of the heart (and loins) inform art, and shares an account of his dysfunctional yet riveting relationship with the truly memorable Phoebe Phelps.
The nonlinear structure abounds with entertaining anecdotes about Vladimir Nabokov, Graham Greene, and Iris Murdoch as well as close friends Salmon Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and James Fenton.
But the love of his life was his longtime wingman, Christopher Hitchens. Amis documents Hitch’s brave and frequently humorous battle with esophageal cancer, shares memories of their younger days, and reflects on the loss of such a prodigious talent.
Interspersed throughout are mini how-to-write essays, reminders of what a close and perceptive reader is Amis. Stylistically, Inside Story is most reminiscent of Dylan’s Chronicles, a master artist following his muse to create a genre-defying and career-defining work.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Amis is a magnet for readers who love exceptional style and bold content, and this memoir disguised as a novel will be a particularly powerful draw.
— Bill Kelly