Martin Amis: Saved by Jane Austen
By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 24 2014 02:00PM
I’m not a Martin Amis fan – The Rachel Papers so repulsed me that I’ve never cracked open another of his novels – but this interview warmed my heart.
Surely no Janeite could resist the picture of a troubled teenager – a boy, no less! – rescued from despair by the utterly compelling story of Pride and Prejudice. I’m a sucker for tales about how books save lives.
We live in the wake of a thousand movies designed to amp up Austen’s girly-romance quotient, so it’s always worth remembering how much she has to offer people who don’t fit the popular stereotype of Austen fans. Narrative drive, engrossing characterization, crystalline prose -- she's got something for everyone.
I’ve never read anything by novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, the far-from-wicked stepmother who threw young Martin the lifeline of fiction when he most needed it, but I feel I should add her to my list.