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A writer whose sardonic wit amused and annoyed even his most ardent readers, his 15 novels received mixed critical reviews.

Some hailed him as a literary genius while others felt he never equalled the brilliance of his writer father Kingsley Amis, author of the masterpiece Lucky Jim.

He became known as much for his flamboyant lifestyle and controversial views as his books.

Born in Oxford, his mother Hilly, a former art student, and father were not well off and before his writing career took off Kingsley relied on his salary as a teacher at Swansea University.

READ MORE: Martin Amis dies aged 73 after acclaimed London Fields author’s battle with cancer

Although Martin would say his early life in Wales echoed that of charming coming-of-age book Cider With Rosie, he was a moody teen seldom seen without a cigarette.

His parents separated when he was 12. He attended a variety of schools before settling well at Exeter College, Oxford, where he achieved a first in English.

In 1973 his semi autobiographical first novel, The Rachel Papers, explored teenage sexuality and won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction.

Kingsley’s critique captured the rawness of his son, saying: “I admire his intelligence and discipline, but there’s a terrible compulsive vividness about his style.”

Martin followed it up with Dead Babies, about wealthy bohemians enjoying a weekend of debauchery at a country rectory.

He became known for his supercharged, darkly comic writing style and Money, published in 1984, was better received.

Some critics said central character John Self, a highoctane ad man trying to get a film off the ground, echoed the struggles of Amis, who battled in vain to create a Hollywood masterpiece.

In 1989 London Fields, centred on the lifestyle of Nicola Six, who knows she is about to be murdered, exemplified Amis’s obsession with pessimistic, dark themes.

Booker Prize judges felt he portrayed women as shallow. This would have jarred as his father, who died in 1995, had won the 1986 Booker for novel The Old Devils.

As an essayist and commentator, Martin Amis was admired for his ability to examine complex issues with a succinct clarity, often encapsulated in a stinging phrase.

In 1984 he married wildlife artist Antonia Phillips. They separated in 1993 and in 1996 he married writer Isabel Fonseca. He died of cancer of the oesophagus and is survived by Isabel and five children.