[Dr. KSS writes about medicine and biotech stocks for the Stock Gumshoe Irregulars. He chooses his own topics, and his words and opinions are his own. You can find his previous columns here. Enjoy!]
“And stepped at once into a cooler clime.”
—–William Cowper, “The Task”
20 years ago, British novelist Martin Amis, son of Kingsley, was enjoying a meteoric rise through the literary firmament. Critical esteem peaked. He was slated to appear at a small, rather radical bookstore in town to read from The Information, his latest novel.
After dark, on a bracing October evening, I parked on a side street, As I locked my car door, a face emerged from the shadows. It spoke: “Have you any idea where The R—– [the bookstore] is?” The accent was British, upper clahhs.
“Headed there myself,” I said. “Marty Amis is giving a reading. Heard of him?”
“Nice. Well, you see, I do know him, in actual fact.” I’d noticed that the stranger, at that age anyway, looked a lot like me. Duh. It dawned on me: He’s Amis!
“Ha!,” I said. “Well, when you next see him, tell him how much I loved Time’s Arrow. I keep having to buy new copies…I tell the next person I meet that he needs to read it, and I never get the book back.”
“Hey, thanks for escorting me,” Amis said. “This night seems so….so very bleck. No streetlamps.” We strolled side by side for several blocks.
I asked him if he were at work on any new projects. “Big novel, yes. Coming along rather nicely, I think.” He was speaking, of course, of London Fields, his best novel and one I have re-read annually since it appeared. I have a pre-pub galley proof edition signed by Amis, one that will have to be pried from my cold dead hands. London Fields is a stop on the tube system, close to the area of London where the story, a taut satire, takes place.
We emerged from the dark street into the light of the bookstore. The clerk eyed us both, eyes darting back and forth, clearly thinking we were twins. We were even wearing ...
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