“Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way.”
Have you ever found yourself surrounded by pompous, pretentious jerks that do a lot of talking but hardly ever have anything worth saying? Of course you have, especially if you once attended any college. There is no avoiding it. Hell, you might even consider this review a good example (but I can assure you, that is not my goal).
The book’s protagonist, Jim, is the newly hired professor of Medieval Studies at one of England’s uppity red brick universities. This is all well and good except for the fact that Jim does not particularly enjoy Medieval Studies, nor does he enjoy the other professors, all of whom are completely self-involved and full of hot air. It might not come as a surprise that for this very reason, Jim often finds himself slipping away to the bar.
Much like Jim, Kingsley Amis was almost as famous for his drinking as he was for this novel. In a shining example, his wife once wrote “1 fat Englishman. I fuck anything” on his back with her lipstick when he was passed out on the beach. As a tribute to Amis and his work, I find myself a few beers in as I write this review. Hopefully it doesn’t have a negative impact on my writing abilities.
In summation, this novel is hilarious, relatable, and very British. Rooting for Jim as he weasels his way out of sticky situations makes this book hard to put down and conjures up a Monty Python-esque version of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Also, here’s a fun fact: my mother reads it once a year. I now understand why. Cheers!