‘He made every sentence electric’: Martin Amis remembered by Tina Brown, his old friend and devoted editor

‘He made every sentence electric’: Martin Amis remembered by Tina Brown, his old friend and devoted editor

He called her Tiny. She called him Bruno. In this speech from today’s memorial service to the novelist, the legendary magazine editor celebrates her cocky, beguiling and witheringly funny star writer

I was 19. Martin was 23. I was still at Oxford. Martin had just finished, but not yet published, The Rachel Papers. We started chatting at a book party about our favourite magazine, the New Statesman. The byline I most admired was that of someone called Bruno Holbrooke. Who was he, did Martin know? There was a pause and a sly smile. Then Martin grandly pronounced: “I. Am. Bruno Holbrooke.”

He was always Bruno to me after that. He called me Tiny. I was confident and vulnerable. He was cocky, beguiling and witheringly funny. Martin’s most seductive appeal was in his voice. Off the page, a rich, iconoclastic croak. On the page, a combination of curated American junkyard and British irony that hit the low notes so hard against the high that sparks flew and made every sentence electric. In a way, it matched his reading habits: if readers of the future want to know how an abiding faith in classic literature could survive, and even thrive, in a world of redtops, porn mags and trash TV, they will surely turn to Martin before anyone else.

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