An excellent book, a truly satisfying red, although some along the PC feminist bent took umbrage for some ultra sensitive reasons and tried to keep it from being published here in the USA. It certainly isn't hatefully misogynistic so much as it an expression of an utter state of befuddlement and confusion when it comes to men figuring out the female sex. Indeed, the men don't really come off any better than the women.
Except for Stanley. Stanley is an engaging and thoughtful fellow who assumes everyone else is also. The book is about how he realizes everyone has his/her interests, and they will often come into conflict. We've all been brainwash since time immemorial to expect more from women, which is why historically as a sex woman has been placed on a pedestal. He seems surprised to learn that this hallowed conventional wisdom has many holes in it, yet he adjusts rather manfully. He learns a lesson, yet isn't rendered bitter. It's an amusing novel, but with an edge. Although Amis could be infuriating in life, he knows had to use that in his work. He's rarely truly affronts, mostly because although he can be wrong and pigheaded, he's without guile, doesn't have the capacity to be really hurtful because he respects everyone's plight too much. And because as an artist he is cunningly artful in making his case. Even when he's critical, it' he can't help giving himself away as likable. The English equivalent of the American good old boy.
Stanley is something of a naif, and this is about how he comes to lose his innocence about both men and women. If the men come off as better, more likable, it's because they're less deceptive, less self-serving. The characters are all well-drawn and the sad subplot involving Stanley's son is affecting, yet rather affirmative in its acceptance of hopelessness. Like in all Amis novels, much revolves around drinking. One of his buddies and he get soused, and when he brings him home, his wife (Stanley's ex-wife, too, as I recall) has a nifty way of getting him into the house. It involves a rug with handles. Pretty droll as described, and tells a lot about the relationship and about the attitude and tone of the book. Read it. You'll like it if you let yourself.