Will the prodigal son return? The novelist Martin Amis has said he is considering making England his home once again three years after quitting these shores for America.
Amis, 65, set up home in New York with his family in 2011, whereupon he denied that his intention was to say “England can go f*** itself”.
But the author said he has since become disillusioned with the racial strife that persists in American society, compared to life in England where the multiracial culture is “a triumph”.
Asked if he might return to Britain, Amis told the Radio 4 Today programme. “Maybe. It doesn’t seem to matter where I live because the writing is hermetic… but I can imagine coming back.”
“Coming from America – and depending on the economic level of where you happen to be – the multiracial aspect [of Britain] is a great triumph, I think.”
“It is a successful post-racialist society. The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War.
"It’s meant to be an era of colour-blindness but the fact is the prison population of black and brown people in America has quintupled in the last couple of decades."
Amis, who satirised the excesses of Thatcher-era Britain in his best-known works, said he had rediscovered his radical instincts. “I’ve been reading a lot of left-wing history while I’ve been in America. I’m discovering that I am an old leftie as I always was and that America has definitely moved further to the right.”
His recent work has examined Islamic extremism in the post 9/11 world and Amis believes that the threat from Isis will recede. “History shows that extreme and nihilist movements don’t have staying power. Commentators are already saying that Isis will not be a presence in about a year’s time and I think that’s true because of its very virulence.”
The idea that the grievances of the 9/11 terrorists and their successors might be “legitimate” has been wholly discredited, Amis said. Their actions are “altogether alien. It is not a product of our historical sins. We’re floundering around trying to combat it.”
Amis’ new novel, The Zone of Interest, returns to the theme of the Holocaust. Amis described Hitler as a “black hole… a void” whose distorted psychology may one day become understandable through study of his “obscure” sexuality.