Despite his revulsion at violence, Amis admitted he was drawn to it in his work. “There’s nothing more nauseating than if, say, a fight breaks out now in this bar. It’s horrible, it’s alien – but we’re fascinated by it.” Violent writing helps contain our fears about violence in real life, he added: “When I create a monster character, the covers of the book are like the bars of a cage. He can’t harm you, but you can look at him. You can look at this monster and admire its severity and horror, but it doesn’t mean you secretly want violence. It’s not a subconscious cry for violence, it’s actually the opposite, it’s how we control it.

Martin Amis working on novel about Christopher Hitchens, Saul Bellow and Philip Larkin