Martin Amis is writing an autobiographical novel about three fellow writers - poet and writer Philip Larkin, Nobel Prize winning novelist Saul Bellow and essayist and literary critic Christopher Hitchens - all of whom have died since he started writing the book.
The overarching theme of the as-yet untitled book will be death, according to Amis. Larkin passed away in 1985, Bellow in 2005, and Hitchens in 2011. Amis told the Guardian: "It’s hard going but the one benefit is that I have the freedom to invent things. I don’t have them looking over my shoulder any more.”
Amis knew each of the writers personally. He described Bellows, who was a friend of Amis' for 20 years before he died, as his “hero and mentor” in conversation with the Guardian, and said of Hitchens he "would never back down", even when faced with an unwinnable fight in a rough bar, and that he "never lost his grace".
Bellow and Hitchens also feature in a book of essays by Amis called The Rub of Time, acquired by Jonathan Cape, publishing in October 2017.
The Rub of Time is the product of 20 years' work (comprising essays that were published between 1986 and 2016), with other subjects spanning Donald Trump, Princess Diana, Diego Maradona and Jeremy Corbyn.
"It shows, once again, that Martin Amis is without equal as an essayist and an observer of contemporary politics and culture,” said Dan Franklin, publishing director at Jonathan Cape.