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Adam Mars-Jones Biography

(1954– ), The Independent, Lantern Lecture, A Darker Proof, The Waters of Thirst

stories collection crisis humour

British writer and critic, born in London, educated at Westminster and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He became film critic and reviewer for The Independent. His first collection of short stories, Lantern Lecture (1981; Somerset Maugham Award, 1982), was widely praised for its stylistic elegance and surreal wit. A Darker Proof (1986; with Edmund White) is a collection of stories dealing with the AIDS crisis; while describing with unflinching honesty the experience of living with death, the stories are enlivened by touches of satirical humour. A novel, The Waters of Thirst (1993), also concerns themes of illness and mortality, but makes only oblique reference to the AIDS crisis. The central character, a gay actor specializing in television voice-overs, is suffering from kidney disease and is obliged to undergo renal dialysis; his observations on his experience are related with the dry humour for which the author is renowned. Whatever his ostensible subject, Mars-Jones is pre-eminently a stylist, with an acute sensitivity for nuances of behaviour and expression which transforms even his most sombre material.

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