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Lucky Jim (Penguin Essentials) Mass Market Paperback – 5 Apr 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241956846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241956847
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.7 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A brilliant and preposterously funny book (Guardian)

It has always made me laugh out loud . . . a flawless comic novel' (Helen Dunmore The Times)

A seminal campus novel (David Lodge)

About the Author

Kingsley Amis was born in London in 1922, educated at City of London School and St John's College, Oxford, and worked for a time as a university lecturer. Following the publication of Lucky Jim in 1954 he wrote over twenty novels, including The Alteration (1976), The Old Devils (1986), winner of the Booker Prize, and The Biographer's Moustache (1995), which was to be his last book. He published a variety of other work, writing about politics, education, language, films, restaurants and drink. Kingsley Amis received a knighthood in 1990, and died in October 1995.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lucky Jim is one of Amis's best works, filled with intense humour, false bravado and absurd characters. The 'hero' Jim Dixon, is intially engulfed by the diverse scope of the eccentric social group with which he finds himself into at University, his students and collegues alike causing him no end of problems. Speaking as a student I find the novel to be in parts painfully close to reality, particularly in Jim's dealings with his over-keen student Michie, and the general irreverent nature of university life, despite the fact that it is set over forty years ago, it is still a humourous and well-recorded version of campus life. Overall the main strengths of the novel are its varied cast of characters whose imbecility, social ineptitude or plain naivety constantly amuse the reader throughout, whilst the climax is a fitting end to Jim's trials both socially, intellectually and morally. Deeply funny.
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Format: Paperback
I am in complete agreement with the 14 year old boy who found this absolute classic in with his dad's old books. I bought this for £2 out of the university bookshop bargain bin when I was in first year at university ( I should add I am 27 so no old fogey) and vaguely remembered seeing Terry-Thomas as Bertrand ("AH SAAAAM") in some old black and white sick-day film on a tuesday afternoon. I started reading it on the train home and didn't stop till I was done. I was actually shocked to see that people hated this and found it dated or "middle-class" (I assume that's meant to be pejorative?). This has to be one of the funniest novels of all time - particularly all the fighting talk "Would you like a slap?" "Not much" and Jim's ability to turn any situation to his complete disadvantage.

I now have a theory that the reason this novels appeals so much to some and not to others is that the world is divided into Bertrands and Jims - the former definitely would hate this book. They'd be into magic realism or something. If you like this you will almost definitely like "Take a Girl like You" which is almost the same book with the characters shifted round a bit but slightly less funny - apart from Julian Ormerod who is pant-wettingly hilarious. Every time I read either of these I crease up and for a long time after I read Lucky Jim even thinking about it was enough to set me off. Buy two copies cos you'll loan one to your friend and never see it again.
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By A Customer on 9 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm only 14 and until now I've settled for reading military novels by the likes of Andy McNab. Now, however, a whole new world of exciting and funny books has opened up to me! It was just pure luck that I was bored one day and decided to dust off one of my dads old books! There are rumours that the humour in the book is now dated, rubbish! I didn't actually know that it was not present day until they mentioned the war and even then I had to check the publishing date to believe it! The part when Jim goes to the evening of festivities at the Professors,get's drunk and makes a fool of himself is quite simply hilarious!.... Amazing stuff...I'd reccommend it to anybody with a sense of humour.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book in paperback thirty-odd years ago. Something clicked for me straightaway. Its period was already past before I was born, but I had no trouble at all projecting a piece of post-war 1950s England in my imagination. I read it again several times, laughing out loud at something in every chapter. How many novels actually have that effect ? For me, Kingsley Amis achieved that comic effect and that sheer ease of reading by a simple trick - using more or less plain English but crafting it brilliantly. Take one short incident, where Jim finds an old archery target in a corner of his arty-crafty professor's rambling house: 'What flaring imbecilities must it have witnessed ?' he wonders. And that's it, the plot moves on. No need for an account of any actual experiments with archery, no dwelling on the back story of another set of characters - this is a fairly snappy, single-point-of view story. One telling phrase, a verbal equivalent of rolling your eyes and snorting with disbelief, and the picture is complete; you can imagine not only those flaring imbecilities with bows and arrows, but almost smell the dust in the attic where they've been dumped.

Fighting his way out of a dusty attic could be a metaphor for what our hero Jim Dixon is doing in this story. He's stuck in world of limited options, not sure how to go further. A working-class grammar school boy (remember those ?) who has scraped a lecturing job in an un-named provincial university, cheekily sticking his nose into a world of drawing-room music recitals where the unavailable prettiest girl in the room and her artist boyfriend talk about chaps they know from the BBC. He gets his girl in the end of course, and a plum job too - the clue is in the title. But that doesn't spoil the plot one little bit.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not one of those people who ever laughs out loud at any book. However, even I found myself emitting the occasional snort at the humorous situations that Jim Dixon gets himself into. Nearly fifty years on it's still all relevant: the English man's clumsiness with women, the academic pomposity and the battle with one's superiors.
Amis builds up the characters wonderfully and writes in such a fluent and full style. This was my first Kingsley Amis book, but it won't be my last.
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