Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lucky Jim

Back to the list, and I thought I'd go for some comedy this time with Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis.

This follows the trials and tribulations of Jim Dixon, a university teacher in a new university History department. He has little interest in his subject, plans his classes around attracting the pretty female students and spends a lot of time worrying about whether his contract will be terminated at the end of the year.

I have to admit that I had rather a love-hate relationship with this book. I found the first couple of chapters like dragging myself through a huge bog of boredom (ok Amis probably has a better turn of phrase than me, I admit). However, then I took it with me for a 2 hour train journey and suddenly it came to life. Maybe it is the sort of book that you need to sit down and appreciate, rather than snatching a few pages here and there on the bus and tube. Anyhow, I had no difficulty in reading it non-stop for the whole journey, and it almost made me laugh out loud!

I particularly enjoyed the description of the hangover which in part triggers Jim's troubles:

"His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he'd somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by the secret police. He felt bad"

I get the feeling that this book is probably a lot better than I have given it credit for, and that I should probably have given it more of my attention to do it justice.

May well be worth revisiting at some point in the future, but for now, onwards and upwards.