Thursday, October 07, 2021

Considering what one has read …

 The Old Devil by Philip Hensher. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One of the most unexpected of these authors turned out to be Kingsley Amis, whose books I’d picked up here and there in different editions: the rebarbative yellow Gollancz hardbacks, versions with that scattered-objects cover design that was so popular with publishers in the 1960s, chic modern-classics relaunches and one 1970s paperback (The Green Man) with a cover so lurid that I hadn’t been able to read it on a train. This took me back. I would have said, if asked, that Lucky Jim was a classic and that Girl, 20 and I Want It Now are both underrated and insightful novels of their time. But was I an admirer of the work as a whole? Well, I had every novel, including The Anti-Death League and The Riverside Villas Murder, some two dozen in total. So evidently yes. Did I agree with most of what they had to say? Hardly at all. They stayed and have gone on being disagreed with.

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