5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
More contemporary than you might think,
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This review is from: Lucky Jim (Penguin Decades) (Mass Market Paperback)
I approached Lucky Jim with a degree of pessimism given its much-vaunted position as one of the great comic novels in British literature. However, the regard and praise is rightly bestowed and richly deserved. As is typical with reading non-contemporary works, it took a few pages to work up a frame of reference for a bygone England of sixty years ago, but soon I found myself empathising with the brilliantly depicted anti-hero Jim Dixon and his struggle to make headway in a world full of self-satisfied individuals and obstructive petty social pretensions. Soon, the novel begins to feel more contemporary than you might initally imagine.
The other thing that soon takes hold is the majesty of Amis's powers of description. Sentences splatter the page which are worthy of being put in a case and displayed in a museum. The way he describes a particularly heavy hangover for the protagonist ('A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum')and a tortuous bus-ride at the novel's climax are an absolute joy. And the novel is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny with some brilliant moments of dark humour. For me, the least satisfactory paragraph is the novel's closing one, but otherwise a sensationally witty and enjoyable read.