Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lucky Jim

As I read the first couple of chapters of this dryly, bitterly, funny novel by Kingsley Amis, I was afraid it was going to be too much like a Barbara Pym novel:  some sly observational humor that's crushed under the weight of a little too much depressing postwar English ennui.  But around the third chapter I began to enjoy myself.  Jim Dixon, a newly hired history lecturer in a small provincial university, hates his job and his colleagues so much that he is unable to resist sabotaging his career prospects at every turn.  This makes for lots of comic fun.  The cynicism never overpowers, though, as it's balanced by Jim's occasional fits of self-honesty which keep him trying, for instance, to do right by the two women with whom he becomes involved.  Great fun.