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Booksluts Challenge Read #2.5: The Old Devils

The Old Devils

Amis, Kingsley

Century Hutchinson, 1986

ISBN 009 163790 2

Ahh, summer reading.  That’s right, northern hemisphere-ers, it’s summer down here now.  Don’t worry, I’ll drink a beer in the sun for you.  Although, any New Zealander will tell you that summer never really comes to the city that I live in – all we get is slightly less wind, and this summer in particular has been pretty pants so far.  I have kind of an intense programme set up for the break that I have over summer, as far as reading goes.  Lots of cheerful titles – Catch-22, The Cancer Ward, Speaker for the Dead.  Oh, and this one, The Old Devils, which doesn’t sound very cheerful, but even before I’d gotten to five pages in had me laughing.  Out loud.  In the staffroom.  With other people present.  Lucky for me I’d already finished my avocado on toast, otherwise I could have had a bit of cleaning up to do.  And on that disgusting, unladylike note…

This is the third book that I’ve read that will go towards the Full-Frontal challenge that those darling Booksluts have set up.  The Old Devils won the Man-Booker prize in 1986.  If you read that little description that I’ve linked to just there, you’ll probably note, as I did, that there seems to be a lot of ‘bursting’ going on in Kingsley Amis’ career.  What up with that, literary descriptors?  What about… erupting?  exploding?  Ach, well… it seems a little redundant to me to have bursting twice, but… whatever.  I have read Lucky Jim before, Kingsley Amis’ first book, but it was so long ago, back when I was doing speech and drama lessons that I couldn’t honestly tell you what it was even about.  Which is ridiculous really, but that was a long time ago now (sob), so I might have to re-read it one of these days.  But who has time to re-read a book I honestly can’t remember a damn thing about?

Actually, on a side note, I often find that with funny books.  I read them, enjoy them, then forget about them.  The books which stick in my mind as ‘good books’ are the hopeless ones, the terrifying ones.  I don’t know if that’s just a propensity of mine to enjoy observing other people’s (even fake people’s) suffering… which is a disturbing trait, but glossing over that for the time being… I remember quite a few books which have made me laugh so much I’ve nearly cried (44 Scotland Street, Fever Pitch, Breaking Dawn, although… I guess that last one isn’t strictly meant to), but I’ve never gone back to read any of them, and I don’t think that I’ve ever recommended any of them to anyone.  No, that’s not true, I actually bought Fever Pitch for the Lad, since he’s almost as rabid a supporter of our local team as Nick Hornby is of Arsenal, and I wanted to show him the path that he was heading down.  Yup, I do my nagging in literary form.  Mind you, he bought High Fidelity for me first.

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