Lit split . . . those Cocker boys . . . and Oppers' fifteen
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The Independent Online
SAD news for those who cherish friendship and good news for the many more who love literary feuds. The most promising dust-up for years, the one between Martin Amis and

his snooker partner, Julian Barnes, about Amis's arbitrageurish behaviour over his new novel, grows ever dustier. Barnes has now written to Amis, and it was, apparently, what we writer types call a bit of a ripsnorter. What is the fuss all about? Come, come: Martin wanted a lot of money for his book because he thinks he's worth it and because, inter alia, he is having to pay a lot of money to get his teeth fixed. When his agent failed to get him what he thought he was worth, he called in this American chap called The Jackal, who did. But his original agent was Barnes's wife. Clear? Anyway, Barnes was not impressed, particularly as the new book features an unattractive portrait of a writer supposedly based on Barnes. And now the letter, which doesn't leave much possibility of the pair ever again kissing the pink with a lot of left-hand side. Standby, meanwhile, for an orchestrated Amis interview onslaught next month, pre-publication. But if you're dying to see the new gnashers, forget it. The work is not yet finished, I understand.