Skip to Content

'A love relationship'

16 November 2009

'The way I see it, ageing and writing is of course an enormous subject all by itself, and my general feeling about it is that as you get older, you lose a certain musicality... you realise that writing is more of a bodily activity than you thought.

All writers go off. There is no question about this in several cases: John Updike, for example, RIP, a great presence who is now an even greater absence. With him you see a deterioration in the ear, suddenly in his last two or three books, prose full of rhymes and repetitions and inadvertencies, those bits in prose called false quantities where the reader gets a jolt - "hasn't he already used that word, just in the last sentence", or "that rhymes with that word...'

It's my belief that the relationship between writer and reader is a love relationship. How do you make someone love you? You present yourself at your best, your most alive, your fullest, your most considerate. An author must be love-flushed: you must give them you most comfortable chair; you want to give the reader the seat nearest the fire, the best wine and food. It's a sort of hospitality gesture.'

Martin Amis in the Sunday Times