Lucky Jim

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590175910
Release Date: 2012-10-02
Genre: Fiction

Regarded by many as the finest, and funniest, comic novel of the twentieth century, Lucky Jim remains as trenchant, withering, and eloquently misanthropic as when it first scandalized readers in 1954. This is the story of Jim Dixon, a hapless lecturer in medieval history at a provincial university who knows better than most that “there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.” Amis’s scabrous debut leads the reader through a gallery of emphatically English bores, cranks, frauds, and neurotics, with each of whom Dixon must contend in one way or another in order to hold on to his cushy academic perch and win the girl of his fancy. More than just a merciless satire of cloistered college life and stuffy post-war manners, Lucky Jim is an attack on the forces of boredom, whatever form they may take, and a work of art that at once distills and extends an entire tradition of English comic writing, from Fielding and Dickens through Wodehouse and Waugh. As Christopher Hitchens has written, “if you can picture Bertie or Jeeves being capable of actual malice, and simultaneously imagine Evelyn Waugh forgetting about original sin, you have the combination of innocence and experience that makes this short romp so imperishable.”

Everyday Drinking

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608193160
Release Date: 2010-08-09
Genre: Cooking

Here is the beloved, bestselling compendium of Kingsley Amis's wisdom on the cherished subject of drinking. Along with a series of well-tested recipes (including a cocktail called the Lucky Jim) the book includes Amis's musings on The Hangover, The Boozing Man's Diet, The Mean Sod's Guide, and (presumably as a matter of speculation) How Not to Get Drunk-all leavened with fun quizzes on the making and drinking of alcohol all over the world. Mixing practical know-how and hilarious opinionation, this is a delightful cocktail of wry humor and distilled knowledge, served by one of our great gimlet wits.

The Life of Kingsley Amis

Author: Zachary Leader
Publisher: Pantheon
ISBN: 9780307496454
Release Date: 2009-03-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Here is the authorized, definitive biography of one of the most controversial figures of twentieth-century literature, renowned for his blistering intelligence, savage wit and belligerent fierceness of opinion: Kingsley Amis was not only the finest comic novelist of his generation–having first achieved prominence with the publication of Lucky Jim in 1954 and as one of the Angry Young Men–but also a dominant figure in post—World War II British writing as novelist, poet, critic and polemicist. In The Life of Kingsley Amis, Zachary Leader, acclaimed editor of The Letters of Kingsley Amis, draws not only on unpublished works and correspondence but also on interviews with a wide range of Amis’s friends, relatives, fellow writers, students and colleagues, many of whom have never spoken out before. The result is a compulsively readable account of Amis’s childhood, school days and life as a student at Oxford, teacher, critic, political and cultural commentator, professional author, husband, father and lover. Even as he makes the case for Amis’s cultural centrality–at his death Time magazine claimed that “the British decades between 1955 and 1995 should in fairness be called ‘the Amis era’”–Leader explores the writer’s phobias, self-doubts and ambitions; the controversies in which he was embroiled; and the role that drink played in a life bedeviled by erotic entanglements, domestic turbulence and personal disaster. Dazzling for its thoroughness, psychological acuity and elegant style, The Life of Kingsley Amis is exemplary: literary biography at its very best. From the Hardcover edition.

The King s English

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781466873766
Release Date: 2014-06-17
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

A Parthian shot from one of the most important figures in post-war British fiction, The King's English is the late Kingsley Amis's last word on the state of the language. More frolicsome than Fowler's Modern Usage, lighter than the Oxford English Dictionary, and brimming with the strong opinions and razor-sharp wit that made Amis so popular--and so controversial--The King's English is a must for fans and language purists.

Take a Girl Like You

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590177983
Release Date: 2015-04-28
Genre: Fiction

Take a Girl Like You may well be Kingsley Amis’s most ambitious reckoning with the serious subject at the heart of his work: the sheer squalor—emotional, material, sexual, you name it—of modern life. It also introduces one of the rare unqualified good guys in Amis’s rogue-ridden world: Jenny Bunn, a girl from the (English) north country come south to teach school in a small smug town where she hopes to find love and fortune. Jenny is a beauty and men and women are crazy about her, most of all handsome Patrick Standish, who Jenny also likes. But Jenny and Patrick live in a world where it’s becoming ridiculously difficult—disastrously difficult—to sort out the claims of sex and the claims of love.

The Alteration

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590176375
Release Date: 2013-05-07
Genre: Fiction

In Kingsley Amis’s virtuoso foray into virtual history it is 1976 but the modern world is a medieval relic, frozen in intellectual and spiritual time ever since Martin Luther was promoted to pope back in the sixteenth century. Stephen the Third, the king of England, has just died, and Mass (Mozart’s second requiem) is about to be sung to lay him to rest. In the choir is our hero, Hubert Anvil, an extremely ordinary ten-year-old boy with a faultless voice. In the audience is a select group of experts whose job is to determine whether that faultless voice should be preserved by performing a certain operation. Art, after all, is worth any sacrifice. How Hubert realizes what lies in store for him and how he deals with the whirlpool of piety, menace, terror, and passion that he soon finds himself in are the subject of a classic piece of counterfactual fiction equal to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. The Alteration won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel in 1976.

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis

Author: Wendy Cope
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571259410
Release Date: 2010-07-15
Genre: Poetry

When Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis was first published, it catapulted its author into the bestseller lists and established her as one of our funniest and most eloquent poets. There are so many kinds of awful men - One can't avoid them all. She often said She'd never make the same mistake again: She always made a new mistake instead. (from 'Rondeau Redoublé')

One Fat Englishman

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590176627
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Fiction

The hero of One Fat Englishman, a literary publisher and lapsed Catholic escaped from the pages of Graham Greene to the campus of Budweiser College in provincial Pennsylvania, is philandering, drunken, bigoted, and very very fat, not to mention in a state of continuous spluttering rage against everything, not least his own overgrown self. In America, Roger Micheldene must deal with not so obliging suburban housewives, aspiring Jewish novelists who as good as clean his clock, stray deer, bad cigars, children who beat him at Scrabble (“It was no wonder that people were horrible when they started life as children”), and America itself, while making ever-more desperate and humiliating overtures to Helen, a Scandinavian ice queen. If only Roger would dare to show some real feeling of his own. This comic masterpiece—about the 1950s crashing drunkenly into the consumerist 1960s and a final scion of a disintegrating Old World empire encountering its upstart New World offspring—is one of Kingsley Amis's greatest and most caustic performances.

The Old Devils

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590175927
Release Date: 2012-10-02
Genre: Fiction

Age has done everything except mellow the characters in Kingsley Amis’s The Old Devils, which turns its humane and ironic gaze on a group of Welsh married couples who have been spending their golden years—when “all of a sudden the evening starts starting after breakfast”—nattering, complaining, reminiscing, and, above all, drinking. This more or less orderly social world is thrown off-kilter, however, when two old friends unexpectedly return from England: Alun Weaver, now a celebrated man of Welsh letters, and his entrancing wife, Rhiannon. Long-dormant rivalries and romances are rudely awakened, as life at the Bible and Crown, the local pub, is changed irrevocably. Considered by Martin Amis to be Kingsley Amis’s greatest achievement—a book that “stands comparison with any English novel of the [twentieth] century”—The Old Devils confronts the attrition of ageing with rare candor, sympathy, and moral intelligence.

Jake s Thing

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446419786
Release Date: 2012-03-31
Genre: Fiction

Jake Richardson, an Oxford don nearing sixty with a lifetime's lechery behind him, is in pursuit of his lost libido and heads off to the consulting room of a miniature sex therapist. Not one to disobey a doctor's orders, he runs the full humiliating gamut of sex labs and trendy 'workshops', where more than souls are bared. He decks himself with cunning gadgetry, dreams up a weekly fantasy, pets diligently with his overweight wife and browses listlessly through porn magazines behind locked doors. Is sex really worth it? As liberationists abuse him, a campus hostess bores him into bed - and even his own wife starts acting oddly - Jake seriously begins to wonder.

The Green Man

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590176160
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Fiction

Maurice Allington has reached middle age and is haunted by death. As he says, “I honestly can't see why everybody who isn't a child, everybody who's theoretically old enough to have understood what death means, doesn't spend all his time thinking about it. It's a pretty arresting thought.” He also happens to own and run a country inn that is haunted. The Green Man opens as Maurice's father drops dead (had he seen something in the room?) and continues as friends and family convene for the funeral. Maurice's problems are many and increasing: How to deal with his own declining health? How to reach out to a teenage daughter who watches TV all the time? How to get his best friend's wife in the sack? How to find another drink? (And another.) And then there is always death. The Green Man is a ghost story that hits a live nerve, a very black comedy with an uncannily happy ending: in other words, Kingsley Amis at his best.

Ending Up

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590177976
Release Date: 2015-04-28
Genre: Fiction

Ending Up is a grimly hilarious dance of death, full of bickering, bitching, backstabbing, drinking (of course), and idiocy of all sorts. It is a book about dying people and about a dying England, clinging to its memories of greatness as it succumbs to terminal decay. Everyone wants a comfortable place to die, and Kingsley Amis’s characters have found it in Tuppeny-happeny Cottage, where assorted septuagenarians have come together to see one another out the door of life. There’s grotesque Adela, whose sole passion is her cheapness; her brother Brigadier Bernard Bastable, always strategizing a new retreat to the bathroom before sallying forth to play some especially nasty practical joke; Shorty, the servant, who years ago had a fling with the brigadier in the barracks and now organizes his day around a trail of hidden bottles; George Zeyer, the distinguished professor of history, bedridden and helpless to articulate his still-coherent thoughts; and Marigold, who slowly but surely is forgetting it all. And now it is Christmas. Children and grandchildren are coming to visit their ailing elders. They don’t know what lies in store before the story ends. None of us do.

Girl 20

Author: Kingsley Amis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590176634
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Fiction

Kingsley Amis, along with being the funniest English writer of his generation was a great chronicler of the fads and absurdities of his age, and Girl, 20 is a delightfully incisive dissection of the flower-power phase of the 1960s. Amis's antihero, Sir Roy Vandervane, a conductor and composer who bears more than a passing resemblance to Leonard Bernstein, is a pillar of the establishment whohas fallen hard for protest, bellbottoms, and the electric guitar. And since vain Sir Vandervane is a great success, he is also free to pursue his greatest failing: a taste for younger and younger women. Highborn hippie Sylvia (not, in fact, twenty) is his latest infatuation and a threat to his whole family, from his drama-queen wife, Kitty, to Penny, his long-suffering daughter. All this is recounted by Douglas Yandell, a music critic with his own love problems, who finds that he too has a part in this story of botched artistry, bumbling celebrity, and scheming family, in a time that for all its high-minded talk is as low and dishonest as any other.