By Kingsley Amis
Appeared via many because the best, and funniest, comedian novel of the 20th century, fortunate Jim is still as trenchant, withering, and eloquently misanthropic as while it first scandalized readers in 1954. this can be the tale of Jim Dixon, a hapless lecturer in medieval heritage at a provincial collage who is aware higher than such a lot that "there used to be no finish to the ways that great issues are nicer than nasty ones." Amis's scabrous debut leads the reader via a gallery of emphatically English bores, cranks, frauds, and neurotics, with each one of whom Dixon needs to contend in a single means or one other that allows you to carry directly to his soft educational perch and win the lady of his fancy.
More than simply a cruel satire of cloistered university lifestyles and stuffy post-war manners, fortunate Jim is an assault at the forces of boredom, no matter what shape they might take, and a piece of artwork that right now distills and extends a complete culture of English comedian writing, from Fielding and Dickens via Wodehouse and Waugh. As Christopher Hitchens has written, "if you could photo Bertie or Jeeves being able to real malice, and concurrently think Evelyn Waugh forgetting approximately unique sin, you have got the mix of innocence and event that makes this brief romp so imperishable."
Kingsley Amis (1922--1995) was once a favored and prolific British novelist, poet, and critic, broadly considered as one of many maximum satirical writers of the 20th century. He received an English scholarship to St John's university, Oxford, the place he all started a lifelong friendship with fellow scholar Philip Larkin. Following military provider in WWII he accomplished his measure and joined the college on the collage university of Swansea in Wales. fortunate Jim, his first novel, seemed in 1954 to nice acclaim and received a Somerset Maugham Award; from that time on he might post approximately a publication a yr. Amis obtained the Booker Prize for his novel The outdated Devils in 1986 and was once knighted by way of Queen Elizabeth II in 1990.
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Extra info for Lucky Jim
This was my cue to leap into view and blast him with my ray gun or pistol (depending on whether I was a spaceman or cowboy), at which point he would feign injury – or sometimes, if I’d been a particularly good shot, death. My Napolean complex often led to sudden outbursts of anti-social behaviour. Mum and Dad made those early Christmases truly magical. The excitement at the prospect of a visit from Father Christmas was almost as difficult to bear then as it is to comprehend now. The house would fill with satsumas, nuts and tinsel; lights of red, green, gold and blue would be hung on the tree.
This faux naivety masked a sterner side, glimpsed one stormy night in Majorca when David and I returned later than promised to the apartment after an evening spent playing pool in a bar. We tiptoed in an hour later than expected, hoping to find Mr and Mrs Williams tucked up in bed, only to be greeted by the furious silhouette of David’s dad as he stood in front of the double glass doors that led to the balcony. ’ As he laid down the law in a most forceful manner, he was beautifully backlit by the lightning as it flashed angrily outside in the stormy night, swiftly followed by deafening claps of thunder.
I went to a private school in the nearby coastal town of Porthcawl. St John’s, an idyllic-looking prep school for boys, was set at the end of a tree-lined driveway and had as its motto Virtus, Sapientia, Humilitas (Virtue, Wisdom, Humility). As luck would have it, very much my own watchwords at the time. My first day at St John’s was a rather traumatic one. I cried bitterly as my mother tried to extricate herself from my soggy clutches. ’ Such kindness. The school, though in Newton, Porthcawl (on the South Wales coast), is forever frozen in my memory as a minor English public school; it seemed very precise and just so.
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis