The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America

Overview

A collection of essays on America by the author of London Fields, Money and Yellow Dog.

At the age of ten, when Martin Amis spent a year in Princeton, New Jersey, he was excited and frightened by America. As an adult he has approached that confusing country from many arresting angles, and interviewed its literati, filmmakers, thinkers, opinion-makers, leaders and crackpots ...

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Overview

A collection of essays on America by the author of London Fields, Money and Yellow Dog.

At the age of ten, when Martin Amis spent a year in Princeton, New Jersey, he was excited and frightened by America. As an adult he has approached that confusing country from many arresting angles, and interviewed its literati, filmmakers, thinkers, opinion-makers, leaders and crackpots with characteristic discernment and wit.

Included in a gallery of Great American Novelists are Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Joseph Heller, William Burroughs, Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, Paul Theroux, Philip Roth and Saul Bellow. Amis also takes us to Dallas, where presidential candidate Ronald Reagan is attempting to liaise with born-again Christians. We glimpse the beau monde of Palm Beach, where each couple tries to out-Gatsby the other, and examine the case of Claus von Bulow. Steven Spielberg gets a visit, as does Brian de Palma, whom Amis asks why his films make no sense, and Hugh Hefner’s sybaritic fortress and sanitized image are penetrated.

There can be little that escapes the eye of Martin Amis when his curiosity leads him to a subject, and America has found in him a superlative chronicler.


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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Using an engaging tone in which disdain and affection appear equally mixed, Amis looks at some of the more glittering facets of American fashionability. About half the essays are on writers (Bellow, Capote, Didion, etc.); the rest, seemingly scatter shots at the American scene, skip from film makers to feminism, from the New Right to AIDS. Although Inferno is a selection of occasional pieces, it is disproportionately weighted to the freakish fringe (Hefner, Claus von Bulow) and thus bestows a symbolic importance on such figures that is simply incommensurate with reality. British readers will make of this what they will; American readers, at the least, can take an amused delight in Amis's performanceespecially in the sequence of arch figure-eights and ironic reverse-spins that he cuts on the glitzy surface of our times. Earl Rovit, English Dept., City Coll . , CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140127195
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/1991
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,014,776
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Amis

Martin Amis is the author of nine novels, two collections of stories and six collections of non-fiction. His most recent novel is Yellow Dog published by Vintage Canada.


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    1. Also Known As:
      Martin Louis Amis (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Oxford, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 25, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oxford, England
    1. Education:
      B.A., Exeter College, Oxford

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