British author Martin Amis has died aged 73, according to his publishing house.

Dubbed ‘the erstwhile Mick Jagger of British letters’, Amis had a privileged background as the son of novelist Kingsley Amis. Yet he was drawn to the seedy underbelly of society.

His publisher Vintage Books said Amis had defined “what it meant to be a literary wunderkind”, influenced “a generation of prose stylists” and was known for “often summing up entire eras with his books”.

He satirised the excesses of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain in his best-known works, Money — with its debauched anti-hero John Self — and London Fields. He explored the crimes of Lenin and Stalin in Koba The Dread, and addressed the Holocaust in his 1991 novel Time’s Arrow, an account of the life of a German doctor at the Auschwitz death camp. He then returned to the subject in his 2014 novel The Zone Of Interest.

In a statement Vintage Books said: “We are devastated at the death of our author and friend.” He had been with the publishing house since his debut novel The Rachel Papers in 1973, aged 24.

Amis died of cancer of the oesophagus on Friday at his home in Florida, according to his agent Andrew Wylie, as reported by AP.

Asked in 2013 by the FT about the process of writing Time’s Arrow, he said: “Writing is about freedom, and freedom is not divisible. And it makes no philosophical, and certainly no literary critical sense to say that you stop at the gates of Auschwitz and you can’t go in.”

After moving from England to the US, he said he missed “the British wit”.

“British people are very tolerant and generous, but they are witty. Americans are tolerant and generous but they are not — they are a bit more earnest, a bit more dogged in their thoughts,” he said.

About the death of his close friend, fellow writer Christopher Hitchens — who also died of oesophageal cancer — he said: “His love of life was so intense he seems to have transmitted to his friends — and to his wife — the obligation to increase your own love of life. You feel you have to do it on his behalf.”

Michal Shavit, his UK editor at Vintage Books, said: “It’s hard to imagine a world without Martin Amis in it. He was the king — a stylist extraordinaire, super cool, a brilliantly witty, erudite and fearless writer.”

Dan Franklin, his former UK editor, called Amis “the coolest, funniest, most quotable, most beautiful writer in the British literary firmament”.

Additional reporting by AP

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