“I would say they are more inspirers than influences. When I am stuck with a sentence that isn’t fully born, it isn’t yet there, I sometimes think, How would Dickens go at this sentence, how would Bellow or Nabokov go at this sentence? What you hope to emerge with is how youwould go at that sentence, but you get a little shove in the back by thinking about writers you admire. I was once winding up a telephone conversation with Saul Bellow and he said, Well you go back to work now, and I said, All right, and he said, Give ’em hell. And it’s Dickens saying, Give ’em hell. Give the reader hell. Stretch the reader.” —Martin Amis

“I would say they are more inspirers than influences. When I am stuck with a sentence that isn’t fully born, it isn’t yet there, I sometimes think, How would Dickens go at this sentence, how would Bellow or Nabokov go at this sentence? What you hope to emerge with is how youwould go at that sentence, but you get a little shove in the back by thinking about writers you admire. I was once winding up a telephone conversation with Saul Bellow and he said, Well you go back to work now, and I said, All right, and he said, Give ’em hell. And it’s Dickens saying, Give ’em hell. Give the reader hell. Stretch the reader.” —Martin Amis

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