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Worst of England

Kingsley and Martin Amis represent the successes and failures of their respective generations, but they can't match the best American fiction

By Andrew Marr   July 2000

The survival of the novel-that is, a work of fiction written to do more than while away a few hours of boredom-is rather surprising. As a developing form the novel was pretty much exhausted a lifetime ago-by, say, 1922, the year in which Ulysses was published and Kingsley Amis was born. As with figurative painting, the “modern” novel would twist and struggle to find a way forward and then more or less give up. But whereas the visual arts turned to new forms-pop images, video and installations, the stuff of Tate Modern-the novel settled back into its early-modern or classical…

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