Why so serious, Mart?

The release of a Martin Amis novel is always a moment of great excitement in this house. In recent years, sadly, the reality has not often met the expectation. The rock writer Greil Marcus once said of Rod Stewart that ‘rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely’. There’s something of this with Mart.

He is an abundantly gifted comic novelist who insists on trying to be Solzhenitsyn, when we just want him to be a bit more like his dad, but with bigger words. Amis’s latest, ‘The Zone of Interest’, is released on Thursday. It set in Auschwitz and is said to be ‘a violently dark love story against a backdrop of unadulterated evil… a journey into the contradictions of the human soul.’ Ah well: maybe next time.

(This article appeared in the Scottish Daily Mail on August 18, 2014)

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