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That Uncertain Feeling (Penguin Modern Classics)

That Uncertain Feeling (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Kingsley Amis
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

In That Uncertain Feeling by Kingsley Amis, competition is stiff for the position of sub-librarian in Aberdarcy Library. For John Lewis, the situation is complicated by the attentions of daunting and desirable village socialite, Elizabeth Gruffyd-Williams, who is married to a member of the local Council. Pursuing an affair with her whilst keeping his job prospects alive is John's predicament, as he finds himself running down Welsh country lanes at midnight in a wig and dress, resisting the advances of local drunks and suffering the long speeches of a 'nut-faced' clergyman.

At times tenderly satirical and at times riotously slap-stick, Amis sends up an array of rural stereotypes in this story about a man who doesn't know what he wants.

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.

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: 862 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:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,247 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feeling groovy 30 Jan 2014
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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1.0 out of 5 stars Great book, terrible formatting 16 July 2013
By sidach
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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By nigeyb
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An english comedy about the vagaries of married men 14 July 2013
By Solly - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I found this book in an opportunity shop during a cold rainy holiday, which I think was a lucky find given the book seems to be no longer in print. It is about John Lewis, a relatively unimportant assistant librarian and his dealings with Elizabeth, a temptress of a woman.

The characters in the story are wonderfully developed and can be related to very easily. John, providing comic moments on almost every page, has a disdain for the elite and the upper crust and their expectation of automatic respect. I think he's also something of a misogynist, or at least overly critical in his own mind. Elizabeth is an upper crust socialite who is used to getting what she wants and will manipulate all and sundry to get it.

This book was my first foray into the literary world of Kingsley Amis and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the vacation because of it. His commitment to prose and the laughter of the reader is very welcome. I think this may be the beginning of an obsession.
4.0 out of 5 stars Far from Kingsley's best 25 Mar 2014
By James Ashley Shea - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this kindle book because Kingsley Amis is one of my very favorite authors.

Let me say right now that "Lucky Jim" is far from his best work. You don't begin to know Kingsley until you have read at least half a dozen of his very special novels, each of which is far different from the others (and thank God they are different from Lucky Jim).

Well, anyway, I can't finish That Uncertain Feeling. Had I read it at age 35 it would have held a lot more interest.

Still, it's by The Man.
5.0 out of 5 stars The hapless life of a Welsh librarian 13 Jan 2014
By TChris - Published on
Is an employee ever promoted on his or her own merit, or is upward mobility always a function of friendship or politics? Kingsley Amis provides a sly, silly, and perceptive answer to that question in his second novel, That Uncertain Feeling.

John Lewis would like to be elevated to the position of sub-Librarian, but it is lust rather than ambition that leads him to pursue Elizabeth Gruffydd-Williams, the village socialite, whose husband is on the committee that will make the selection. That Lewis is married with children causes him to feel some guilt, albeit only when he is in his wife's presence, particularly when she is telling him to have whatever fling he desires so long as he does not burden her with knowledge of his infidelity (a reaction he should know better than to believe). Lewis is much too ineffectual to have a successful affair, but his attempts to woo (and bed) Elizabeth provide ample fodder for the sort of domestic comedy at which Amis excelled.

Poking fun at all things Welsh was a Kingsley Amis specialty. The cast of That Uncertain Feeling includes the sort of eccentric Welsh characters that Amis created masterfully: an arrogant poet, a "nut-faced" clergyman, busybody neighbors, know-it-all committee members, and a wide variety of drunks. Amis also made a career of skewering the pretentious class -- those with a little more money who look down on those with a little less -- although the relatively well-to-do in That Uncertain Feeling are roasted over a low flame. None of the novel's characters are evil or truly unlikable. Even the badly behaving Lewis is endearing, all the more so by the novel's end, when he seems to have learned something from the consequences of his error-prone life.

I don't know if Amis was capable of writing an unfunny sentence. Employing modes of humor that range from dry wit to slapstick, Amis placed his hapless librarian into one awkward situation after another. Amis' ability to write comedy that is simultaneously low key and outrageous has rarely been matched. That Uncertain Feeling is filled with the sort of humor for which Brits are famous: self-effacing commentary; insults exchanged in unfailingly polite language; even a bit of gratuitous cross-dressing.

The ending has the feel of an epilogue -- everything that has gone before suddenly changes, as if Amis didn't know where else to go with the story and decided to abandon it -- but that's a minor complaint. There's probably a serious point buried amidst all the lunacy but I didn't strain myself to search for it. The sustained laughter is quite enough reason for modern readers to search out this 1955 novel.
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