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Lucky Jim (Penguin Decades) [Paperback]

Kingsley Amis
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 April 2010 Penguin Decades

Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain. When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood. All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling.

Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim was published in 1954, and is a hilarious satire of British university life. Jim Dixon is bored by his job as a medieval history lecturer. His days are only improved by pulling faces behind the backs of his superiors as he tries desperately to survive provincial bourgeois society, an unbearable 'girlfriend' and petty humiliation at the hands of Professor Welch.

Lucky Jim is one of the most famous and influential of all British post-War novels.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141046716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141046716
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 433,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A brilliant and preposterously funny book (Guardian)

It has always made me laugh out loud . . . a flawless comic novel' (Helen Dunmore The Times)

A seminal campus novel (David Lodge) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Kingsley Amis's (1922-95) works take a humorous yet highly critical look at British society, especially in the period following the end of World War II. Born in London, Amis explored his disillusionment in novels such as That Uncertain Feeling (1955). His other works include The Green Man (1970), Stanley and the Women (1984), and The Old Devils (1986), which won the Booker Prize. Amis also wrote poetry, criticism, and short stories.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of modern humour. 4 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Lucky Jim is one of Amis's best works, filled with intense humour, false bravado and absurd characters. The 'hero' Jim Dixon, is intially engulfed by the diverse scope of the eccentric social group with which he finds himself into at University, his students and collegues alike causing him no end of problems. Speaking as a student I find the novel to be in parts painfully close to reality, particularly in Jim's dealings with his over-keen student Michie, and the general irreverent nature of university life, despite the fact that it is set over forty years ago, it is still a humourous and well-recorded version of campus life. Overall the main strengths of the novel are its varied cast of characters whose imbecility, social ineptitude or plain naivety constantly amuse the reader throughout, whilst the climax is a fitting end to Jim's trials both socially, intellectually and morally. Deeply funny.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed so much I thought I might die. 13 Mar 2007
I am in complete agreement with the 14 year old boy who found this absolute classic in with his dad's old books. I bought this for 2 out of the university bookshop bargain bin when I was in first year at university ( I should add I am 27 so no old fogey) and vaguely remembered seeing Terry-Thomas as Bertrand ("AH SAAAAM") in some old black and white sick-day film on a tuesday afternoon. I started reading it on the train home and didn't stop till I was done. I was actually shocked to see that people hated this and found it dated or "middle-class" (I assume that's meant to be pejorative?). This has to be one of the funniest novels of all time - particularly all the fighting talk "Would you like a slap?" "Not much" and Jim's ability to turn any situation to his complete disadvantage.

I now have a theory that the reason this novels appeals so much to some and not to others is that the world is divided into Bertrands and Jims - the former definitely would hate this book. They'd be into magic realism or something. If you like this you will almost definitely like "Take a Girl like You" which is almost the same book with the characters shifted round a bit but slightly less funny - apart from Julian Ormerod who is pant-wettingly hilarious. Every time I read either of these I crease up and for a long time after I read Lucky Jim even thinking about it was enough to set me off. Buy two copies cos you'll loan one to your friend and never see it again.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A timeless book providing a top read 8 April 2002
By A Customer
I'm not one of those people who ever laughs out loud at any book. However, even I found myself emitting the occasional snort at the humorous situations that Jim Dixon gets himself into. Nearly fifty years on it's still all relevant: the English man's clumsiness with women, the academic pomposity and the battle with one's superiors.
Amis builds up the characters wonderfully and writes in such a fluent and full style. This was my first Kingsley Amis book, but it won't be my last.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic entertainment 25 Jun 2012
By anozama
God knows what Kingsley Amis must have been like in person; his ability to find fun in everyone's otherwise irritating and frustrating behaviour is astonishing.

Filled with extraordinarily, almost manically descriptive, humourous observations, this book is enormously entertaining and uproariously funny - a comic masterpiece.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creeps up on you... 28 Mar 2009
By benjab
This is easily one of the best, funniest books i have ever read. The humour is perfectly excecuted and caught me completely off-guard at various points- it really creeps up on you and will leave you in stiches if you are able to empathise with the protaganist, a very sympathetic character. Even though some characters could be considered a little one-dimensional, this seems not to hinder the brilliance of the novel. A classic.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a comedy classic 8 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book years ago and have just re-read it, wondering whether it would still make me crack up. It did! I read ages ago that what makes people laugh is having your characters say or do things that everybody thinks or does, but nobody ever talks about. I still think the episode where Jim burns the sheets, tries to cover it up and dreads getting found out, is absolutely classic. Of course this is practically a historical novel now; anyone with an elderly relative who constantly says, 'We were damn hard up...' should read this. Poor old Jim, wondering whether he can afford another half... For anyone who wasn't there, and doesn't believe it really ever existed, it's also a brilliant insight into the pre-pill, pre shagshagshag era. Read this, pity your aged relatives, and have a really good laugh.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Jim....Great! 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I'm only 14 and until now I've settled for reading military novels by the likes of Andy McNab. Now, however, a whole new world of exciting and funny books has opened up to me! It was just pure luck that I was bored one day and decided to dust off one of my dads old books! There are rumours that the humour in the book is now dated, rubbish! I didn't actually know that it was not present day until they mentioned the war and even then I had to check the publishing date to believe it! The part when Jim goes to the evening of festivities at the Professors,get's drunk and makes a fool of himself is quite simply hilarious!.... Amazing stuff...I'd reccommend it to anybody with a sense of humour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A deserved classic 31 Oct 2012
By Jonny
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although the subject matter is a little dated, "Lucky Jim's" humour still stands today. The main character is one with whom most can identify and the other characters are equally appealing or appalling. A very enjoyable read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 4 days ago by Gilbert Keith Jackson
2.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Jim
I listened to a Radio 4 programme praising this book to the rafters and informing me how funny it was. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MR K R LEIVERS
2.0 out of 5 stars Humour was lost on me
Being a penguin Classic I thought I would give this book a go, as I seem to recall it being made into a film with the likes of Peter Carmichael & Terry Thomas in the era of School... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tony Bendall
5.0 out of 5 stars Well deserved Classic
In Lucky Jim Amis provides us with a look into the final half of a year at one of the many new Universities that have emerged since the end of WWII. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Leo J H Eastley
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites
Lucky Jim is a gem of a book. Wonderfully observed comedy. I urge anyone who hasn't read it to do so asap!
Published 2 months ago by tonyush
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
None of the characters was recognisable nor did I have a shred of sympathy with them. Much of the writing struck me as being self -indulgent and littered with cliches.
Published 3 months ago by Mr Brian E Hallett
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the book, thought the film was a travesty
This is a comic masterpiece, one that for me anyway Amis never surpassed or equalled. There are moments in LJ that are real laugh out loud outburst-making in nature, and did so... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kilrymont
3.0 out of 5 stars we've caught up and moved on past
in its time Lucky Jim broke new ground and was very funny indeed: the academics are portrayed ruthlessly, and so are ways of speaking, in a manner that was almost shocking at the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. Hunter
2.0 out of 5 stars Modern classic?
Read this book because it was in a Must Read list in a Sunday paper. Didn't really enjoy this story, or find it as funny as suggested.
Published 3 months ago by Karen
4.0 out of 5 stars Nor really angry.
This has been badged as one of the first of the "angry young man" genre. It is about Jim a junior history lecturer at a provincial university in the early 1950s. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. N. Marshall
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