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Nice Work [Paperback]

David Lodge
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 May 2002

Winner of the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and short-listed for the Booker Prize, ‘Nice Work’ is a hilarious comedy of society and class misunderstandings.

When Vic Wilcox, MD of Pringle’s engineering works, meets English lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose, sparks fly as their lifestyles and ideologies collide head on. But, in time, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other’s worlds – and about themselves.

'A work of immense intelligence, informative, disturbing and diverting' Observer.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (2 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140119205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140119206
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 324,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Lodge's novels include Deaf Sentence, Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work, Therapy, Thinks... and Author, Author. He has also written stage plays and screenplays, and several books of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction, Consciousness and the Novel and, most recently, The Year of Henry James. Formerly Professor of English at Birmingham University, David now writes full-time. He continues to live in Birmingham.

Product Description


"A funny, intelligent and superbly placed social comedy" (The New York Times)

"A work of immense intelligence, informative, disturbing and diverting" (Observer)

"As a comedy of society and class misunderstandings, Lodge has never observed more sharply... A very nice work indeed" (The Times)

"Rich in reserves of humour and irony...the book is a delight " (Mail on Sunday) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The final novel in David Lodge's prize-winning campus trilogy, shortlisted for the Booker Prize. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Monday, January 13th, 1986. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Campus Novel 2 Oct 2002
Quite simply, this is one of the great campus novels. Believe me - as a PhD student, I am amazed at the way Lodge draws humour from the often dry and slightly weird world of academia. You don't need to have a degree to read this book, though - it is a wonderful example of the way two worlds that are not as different as you may think interact. very, very funny. To me, it screams out for a sequel (although Robyn makes a cameo in Thinks..). I would love to know what she's up to today! Someone should slap a preservation order on Lodge.
Better than the History Man - better than Lucky Jim. Brilliant.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Lodge's talent is at full force here in one of his earlier novels; set in the fictional town of Rummidge (as are "Changing places" and Small World", two of his later novels), "Nice Work" charts the entry of an attractive female university English lecturer, Robyn Penrose, into the life of Vic Wilcox, gruff middle aged MD of an engineering factory. Set up as part of an Industry Year exchange, Robyn follows Vic around, viewing for the first time a world she knows nothing about and casting her sensitive and educated eye over all that she sees. The comic mismatch beteen the couple is a joy to read as Lodge expertly switches between the world of the univesity campus, with all its pretentious enquiry and the rougher, more competitive environment of the factory workplace. Inevitably, sparks fly as the two discover the fallacy of their previously-held notions of the other's profession and learn to accept the differences. Written with flair and perfect comic timing, it is a must for any reader, whether a Lodge fan or not. Excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read it 24 Aug 2010
I think that all students of English Literature should read this. It is better than any number of theory books that they will ever come across and much more fun. I've read it more times than I can remember and always get something new from it. It's also great for cheering yourself up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time in the Midlands 15 Nov 2007
Nice Work is a clever, well-constructed comedy and social commentary about a clash of cultures in a fictional Midlands town in the mould of Birmingham. Well-paced and meticulously plotted, the novel revolves around the unlikely convergence of Dr Robyn Penrose - a professor of Women's studies and purporter of deconstructuralist and feminist theory - and Vic Wilcox, MD of an industrial engineering plant. Written aptly at a time of great social transformation (Thatcher, class strife, the decline of industry and massive cuts to public spending) David Lodge pieces together an astute oberservation of British life. Moreover, he is a master at developing tangible and appealing characters by telling the story - alternately - from their perspective. Billed as 'the campus novel meets the industrial novel', this is a highly readable and thought-provoking work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Lodge's best 15 May 2012
The worlds of academia and industry collide very deftly in this, one of Lodge's finest, if not his best novel to date. Opposites it seems often do attract, but more often than not are simply thrown together through circumstances. The ups and downs of the protagonmists relationship are superbly drawn. The only reason it's not a 5-star is the rather contrived ending. Charlotte Bronte and the victorians could not have come up with anything less believable!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply charming! 3 July 2013
By Annn
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed it very much and couldn't even suspect the reading of this book would give me so much pleasure. Love both Lodge's style, his smooth but smart irony, the way he speaks about quite serious and deep things, but does it without affectedness. I'd recommend it as a quality and worthy reading for those who care.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 9 July 2002
By A Customer
This is a wonderful satire on universities and business - particularly in the mid 80s. It captures the mood of "the cuts" and universities in the 1980s like nothing else I've read. You can see it, very loosely, as the final member of a trilogy (formed by "Changing places" and "Small world"), but you don't need to have read the other two in order to appreciate this one. It is immensely readable (I didn't need a dictionary once), and fully deserved its Booker nomination.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice work by David Lodge paperback version 7 Mar 2014
By Keith W
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Prompt delivery and a good story. Dropped a star because the print was so small. I'm not that young anymore so I also purchased the kindle version so I could control the size of print. First Kindle book I've bought and put it on my Android tablet. Much better.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A perceptive social comment!
I particularly liked the contrasts between the life philosophies of the characters and thought this reflected what happens in our society. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MS E NEWBERY
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book!
This is one of my favourite books. The coming together of two very different successful people by governmental policy is perhaps the most hilarious of circumstances one could find... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Wazza
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern History Man?
Almost a classic, but not quite. More stuck in its time. A great entertaining, provocative and evocative read all the same. Derivative, certainly. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Miss C. Wild
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT
Enjoyable reading from the very first page;I read this book approx. 11years ago and I just re-read it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by elena costin
4.0 out of 5 stars As Expected
Nether any more nor any less than specified or expected. Nether any more nor any less than specified or expected..
Published 12 months ago by B. Betts
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Work
david lodge has a particular style which makes his writing unique. this novel continues the style provided by the earlier ones. it makes fun reading . definitely recommendable!
Published on 2 Jan 2010 by Joseph Caruana
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly Amusing And Insightful Modern View of Town Versus Gown
I suppose it helps the appreciation of this superb book to have worked without tenure in a modern British university, and also having experience of the commercial pressures of... Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2009 by Clifford
5.0 out of 5 stars Best first chapter of all time, ever
I first read this book as a teenager, and have re-read it probably every year since. Vic Wilcox is a truly great creation - who could have guessed that the innermost thoughts of a... Read more
Published on 4 April 2007 by Harriet the Spy
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