Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Martin Amis Says "Coetzee's Got No Talent"

SummertimeThe Pregnant WidowAcclaimed writer, Martin Amis, is hot on a run of controversial statements. Most recently he said in an interview (to be released soon) that Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee has no talent. I think there are a few who might just disagree.

After calling for the introduction of euthanasia booths for the elderly last week, he has now turned on his fellow writers, criticising the assumption that “gloomy” books are somehow more serious.

“it’s the gloomy ——- that are the serious ones”, he said in an interview to be published on the Prospect website. “Coetzee, for instance – his whole style is predicated on transmitting absolutely no pleasure.

“I read one and I thought, he’s got no talent. But the denial of the pleasure principle has got a lot of followers.”

Book details

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    January 27th, 2010 @10:50 #
     
    Top

    Even I think Amis is losing it. JMC has vast talent. However, a lifetime of trying to explain why I have a problem with Coetzee's writing is summed up for me in the following line from Amis: "his whole style is predicated on transmitting absolutely no pleasure."

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    January 27th, 2010 @11:03 #
     
    Top

    Are the grapes tasting a bit sour there, Mr Amis?

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    January 27th, 2010 @12:11 #
     
    Top

    *beep beep Helen anecdote alert beep beep* I have just remembered that during the annus mirabilus in which I washed up at Princeton, Martin Amis came to give a lecture to the English department. Don't ask me what it was about, because he preceded it by a riff on the Mike Tyson rape trial. At first, the audience tittered nervously. But his statements became so outrageously sexist that I decided to leave. My abiding memory is of the painfully fixed smile on the face of our HOD, feminist literary doyenne Elaine Showalter...

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    January 27th, 2010 @13:05 #
     
    Top

    It's just too easy to fan the fires of controversy these days. First barf up some controversial statement or create a controversial cover, and then retract or adjust your statement later, with or without apology. The worst thing is, I just contributed to this annoying practice.

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://www.darlingtonrichards.com/" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    moi
    January 27th, 2010 @13:44 #
     
    Top

    @ Helen: you worked with Elaine Showalter, she of 'gynocriticism'...? wow. I'm sooo envious. I wonder if anyone has tried to up their talent ratings by denigrating hers? Love that image of her with painfully fixed smile - let it not be said a feminist wouldn't act like a lady if the situation required it :-))

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    January 27th, 2010 @15:27 #
     
    Top

    ho hum

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    January 27th, 2010 @16:50 #
     
    Top

    @ Moira: I admired Elaine from afar as she swished down the corridors. Occasionally I got close enough to gather the odd pearl. She was moving on from gynocriticism and the Victorians (which is what I was doing there in the 1st place) to her studies of hysteria, and we overlapped for about five minutes in contemplating Dante Gabriel Rossetti's psychosomatic blindness after having his wife's coffin dug up and opened.

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://www.darlingtonrichards.com/" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    moi
    January 27th, 2010 @17:32 #
     
    Top

    one day when I grow up I want to swish down corridors casting pearls ... do I want to know after how long that coffin was dug up for its contents to be contemplated by the bereaved spouse :-/

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://meganvoyseybraig.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Megan</a>
    Megan
    January 27th, 2010 @18:47 #
     
    Top

    Mr Amis is looking a little elderly himself. Why euthanasia booths only for the elderly? It should be a "free for all" service.
    To make yourself vulnerable is a rare and exceptional talent- Coetzee has this in abundance-perhaps challenging the reader to retrieve pleasures in their purest forms (thought being one of them) despite humanity.

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    January 27th, 2010 @19:07 #
     
    Top

    @ Moira, one of the reasons I did a PhD on the PreRaphaelites (thereby rendering myself instantly unemployable) is because their lives were far more glam, dramatic and interesting than the most OTT soap opera. When DG Rossetti's wife died (almost certainly a suicide), he was so guilty (not least because he was having an affair with someone else, who happened to be married to his best friend and business partner) he threw his fair copy of his completed collection of poems into the coffin. Ten years later (creak creak ghoul ghoul), inflamed with jealousy at his younger pious sister's enormous success and critical acclaim as a poet, and convinced that his best work lay buried, he paid some very dodgy blokes to exhume her and fish out the poems. YOU COULD NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP.

    Sorry sorry, I know it's zero to do with the post, but I don't get to talk about my beloved Phid much. Hell, I don't EVER get to talk about it, and it was such a huge chunk of my life. Shutting up now...

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://www.darlingtonrichards.com/" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    moi
    January 27th, 2010 @19:25 #
     
    Top

    oh don't stop, it's fascinating stuff and SUCH a great way to subvert um, redeem the content of the thread's header ;->

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    January 27th, 2010 @22:27 #
     
    Top

    Tell you what, one of these days I'll write a blog piece about it all. The Phid, not the subversion campaign...

    Bottom
  • <a href="http://www.secretofthesacredscarab.com" rel="nofollow">fionaingram</a>
    fionaingram
    February 3rd, 2010 @11:11 #
     
    Top

    Martin Amis also said really nasty things about Jordan (aka Katie Price) whom we might all despise for her celebiographies (lost count now) but for a dumb blonde-turned-brunette, her book sales are astonishingly and enviably high. I think he doesn't like anyone.

    Bottom

Please register or log in to comment


» View comments as a forum thread and add tags in BOOK Chat