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3.8 out of 5 stars
166
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 29 March 2017
Kingsley Amis is one of our most celebrated storytellers a comic writer at the top of his game
Treat yourself to "Lucky Jim" and enjoy.
Btw Swestbooks are a super Internet book supplier.
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on 6 June 2017
Good book
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on 16 June 2017
Just what I wanted. Thanks.
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on 12 September 2017
Excellent story.
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on 15 September 2010
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.
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on 15 June 2017
I once had a friend, believe it or not, by the name of James Dixon, not an especially lucky boy himself. He never had the opportunity to become a university lecturer, happy or not, as he died at the age of eleven after falling into a cess pit near his home one Snuday afternoon. His mother drank, his father lived in Scunthorpe. At his funeral myself and others of his classmates sang 'Land of Make Believe' by Bucks Fizz, which had everyone in tears, as you can, I'm sure, imagine.

On the subject of Amis's once groundbreaking work, I have to admit I enjoy this kind of thing immensely. Even despite the reminders of my own Dixon, sinking in the mire, the bubbling, rank man-dung, as in some horrible satire on 'The Lone Ranger', his little face the last to slip under, out of sight, as we other boys watched on, wordlessly, impotently, I still think it's a cracking read, I really do. It's just I sometimes wish I hadn't pushed him.
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on 13 October 2014
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. You'll be rooting for Lucky Jim all the way through, right to the hilarious end. How does he get what he wants ? A bit of cleverness; a bit of perseverance; but mostly he's just lucky, right at the moment when he seems to have screwed up everything.

A joy to have this stupidly funny book on my Kindle (even with a few typos) three decades after I first discovered it and sixty years after it was published.
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on 1 June 2017
In fairness, if I'd read this back in the sixties, when I was first encountering "modern" from Salinger, to Joyce, to Kerouac, I would have been more impressed. I "get it", but I suspect it's a book that hasn't aged too well.

One word of caution, do avoid the 1957 movie version at all costs.
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on 10 April 2017
Confronted with some extravagant claims for the book, you can't help seeing its weaknesses but it is certainly beautifully crafted and acidly humorous. The comedic set-pieces don't quite work when read in an age where bad behaviour is the norm, social anxieties not quite so concerning and social mobility not so visible. Still, the parade of archetypes is very familiar and are awful enough to justify the author's piquant misanthropy. While noticing what had changed since it was written, I also noticed what had not, and when he is scorning the 'organic husband and Esperanto brigade', it was gratifying to acknowledge that some things never change. His description of the Margaret character as having moments of 'minimal prettiness' did make me chuckle and is very memorable.
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on 13 March 2007
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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