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.


  1. Oh my goodness, that's the perfect description of Barbara Pym. I just read Excellent Women, which is billed as a comedy but it's pretty hard to see. If Lucky Jim is *not* like Pym, I'm all for it.

    1. Can I quote you when I write my review of the Pym book?

    2. Oh, absolutely, feel free. I read Excellent Women sometime last year, and was really expecting it to be funnier, as you say. But I think you'd like Lucky Jim much better--it's sort of wicked fun, and I laughed out loud more than once.

  2. Sparks my interest....Kingsley Amis. Any particular reason for chosing this author? You don't read many reviews about his books.

  3. I didn't really choose this author--I came across the book in the back room of the library's used book section. I had never heard of it, or of Kingsley Amis. The book looked appealing though, and the cover blurb called it extremely funny, so I picked it up for 50 cents. :) That was a year or so ago.

    Reviewers on Amazon say that Amis' other books are less light and funny than this one, though, so I'm not sure whether I'll look for more from him.

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    -- end --