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That Uncertain Feeling (Penguin Modern Classics) Kindle Edition

2.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2107 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ADNP77K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,851 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Very readable, albeit with an implausible upbeat ending. This book reminded me a bit of the John Updike Rabbit books. From what I recall, they also featured a central character who was unsure about what he really wanted, was easily distracted and tempted, and was intrinsically lazy. John Lewis, an assistant librarian, in a small Welsh mining town, becomes involved with the flirtatious wife of a successful businessman who has influence over library job appointments. She promises him a guaranteed promotion.

To say that John Lewis doesn't know what he wants is an understatement - and on one level this novel is his journey to some kind of wisdom and self-insight. I suspect the book's themes might have had greater resonance in 1955, when the book was first published: disdain for pretension, self-effacing commentaries, the sense of being stifled by social structures, retreating into alcohol as a coping mechanism, manipulation, hypocrisy, etc.

Despite some weighty themes, in common with Lucky Jim (Penguin Modern Classics), Kingsley Amis's first novel (and the only other one I have read), this book is very well written, with credible and recognisable characters, and has some amusing moments, including one laugh out loud chapter of high farce. Kingsley Amis appears to really enjoy making fun of his characters, most of whom are flawed and faintly ludicrous. A satisfying, sporadically funny, well written book that is very much of its time.
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Format: Paperback
This novel was published the year I was born and, boy, things were different back then! Libraries resounded to the thump of date-stamping, babies wore "rubber knickers" (easy at the back, they weren't that good), phone calls were made from street boxes into which you fed coins to talk, and tea had to be spooned into pots and 'mashed' before you could get your brew. My dears, it was an all-analogue world. So what's the interest here? Human nature is the answer, in all its unchanging and unchanged, marvellous, greedy, self-centred and altruistic glory. Councillors are still bent, spouses are still unfaithful, young men still fight at clubs, children still infuriate and amaze at once, and swimming in the sea is still bloody uncomfortable. Our hero, John Williams (Welsh, you see, wus), even becomes a better bloke at the end, some achievement for the mightily sardonic Mr Amis. In short, it's a hoot. Give it a go and see if you could've managed before mobiles.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"This made me laugh even more than his first book," said John Betjemen, presumably after his third Banana Blush. There is plenty to smile at, and some laugh-out-loud moments, but it's no Lucky Jim.

I found the narrator character hard to get a handle on. I suppose he's suffering from frustration and boredom, if not outright depression, but the only way to explain some of his actions is that he is far drunker than he makes himself out to be. The slapstick scenes in particular come out of nowhere (I'm in agreement with Edmund Wilson's New Yorker review about the infamously arbitrary chapter 10) and aren't funny enough to be worth it.

OK, spoilers ahead...

Those slapstick bits, along with the sudden fade-out ending followed by a "six months later" epilogue, make me think Amis wasn't taking it very seriously, which of course is a disaster if you're trying to write comedy. Or was the work simply too rushed? He had years to hone Lucky Jim, and no doubt the publishers then demanded a follow-up twelve months later. The inspiration seems lacking, in places you can sense the desperation of an author with a deadline, and the twist (unsuitable and obviously insincere man-eating married woman turns out genuinely to have fallen in love with our hero) pretty feeble.

If you have yet to read any Kingsley Amis, start with Lucky Jim or The Green Man or - best of all - with The Anti-Death League. But this one, slight as it is, is still entertaining enough to be worth a look.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the second Kingsley Amis book I have read, working my way through his back catalogue, and I found this at least the equal of Lucky Jim. Whilst Lucky Jim may have more comedic high points, I found that the central character in this work was more sympathetic. Overall, the Amis attitude to pomposity and overt-intellectualism and his straight-forward but acutely brilliant writing style are all present as I've come to expect from this author.

However, this is a review of the Penguin kindle version and therefore loses most of its stars for the terrible formatting this book has received. There has been no effort to fully justify the text, and not only is the text ragged on the right hand side, but on some pages the text barely reaches the middle of the page. Overall, my experience with kindle has been positive but the photocopy and sell without any quality control that many publishers seem to follow in putting out their back catalogue in e-book form is a real problem.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It mines the same authorial voice as Lucky Jim, which was witty and funny, but this book has a tired, vituperative and paltry voice - and it's just not that funny.
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