In Martin Amis’s first novel, The Rachel Papers, 19-year-old Charles has girlfriend troubles, family troubles, money troubles, and body troubles (he’s short, skinny, and morbidly obsessed with his teeth). In the 37 years since Charles’s debut, Amis has written journalism, criticism, and a dozen novels. He is one of Britain’s best-known writers, a common figure in both the tabloids and the op-ed pages. He’s been married twice, become a grandfather, and buried his own father, the novelist Kingsley Amis. It would seem unavoidable that life has changed his perspective—his 2000 memoir was called Experience. Yet his latest novel, The Pregnant Widow, opens with a 20-year-old named Keith worrying about his girlfriend, his family, his lack of money, his short stature, and his bad teeth.