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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Martin Amis: Saved by Jane Austen

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.

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