Martin Amis embarks on his life story

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The novelist Martin Amis has started work on his memoirs. In an interview with Esquire magazine tomorrow, he says that the book will partly tell the story of his cousin Lucy Partington, who was murdered by Fred West, as well as telling parts of his own story as one of the best known British writers of the last two decades.

In particular, it will deal with his relationship with his father, the late Sir Kingsley Amis, who didn't read his son's books for fear he would not like them, the break up of his marriage and even the much publicised cosmetic surgery on his teeth. He says in his interview that the memoir is about "privacy intruded upon. The world takes you over a bit, annexes you." In the interview, Amis says of his father: "Unlike me, my dad was incapable of telling a white lie. He was worried that he wouldn't like the books and would have hurt my feelings by telling me so. It was simpler for him not to read them at all ... How could he be so incurious about me?"

Comparing the newspaper coverage of the break-up of his marriage to the break-up of his father's marriage, he says: "In those days, all you got was the old fashioned hypocrisy, some paragon of Fleet Street saying `he's an adulterer.' Now you get a crackle of schadenfreudian laughter and scurrility that is gigglingly hurled into the pot. When I was in the papers every day, I hadn't done anything. I'd left my wife, but as anyone knows who has been through it, no-one wants a marriage to break up. It only breaks up because it can't stay together... I am inured to it and always thought that it was part of the job, but that doesn't help the wife or the ex- wife or the children."

Still stung by the coverage of his dental treatment, he says he had "lifelong dental trouble on an order you wouldn't believe, it was and is serious and has always been the bane of my life."

Amis' new novel, Night Train, is published later this month.

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