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Title: Amis & Son
Author: Neil Powell
Reviewer: Lindi Obose
Amis & Son is an opinionated account of two of Britain's famous post-war writers, Kingsley Amis and his son, Martin. The elder Amis made his debut in 1954 with Lucky Jim. He published novels, poems, essays and non-fiction titles until his death in 1995.
There haven't been too many father and son acts in British literary history. Powell is a poet and a fine critic and his insights into the books turn from generous to sharp. In the case of the older Amis, they are perceptive and intriguing.
Powell takes us through Kingsley's upbringing in Norwood, his bad temper, womanising and drinking. Martin's books are different to his father's and focus on the dirty side of urban life, mostly in London. Powell explores how the twentieth century impacts on the writer's life.
Kingsley and Martin aren't much alike as writers. Kingsley's comedy stems from his social observations.