Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis

‘Gwen, really there’s nothing to talk about. Nothing  happened’

Imagine if you will an author who could recreate the everyday in such detail that reading his book seems at once overly familiar and a little strange. The characters of this novel like to drink…. a lot and when they’re not drinking (and even when they are) they are telling tall (or occasionally true) tales to and about each other.

There is something so vanilla and lifelike about this prose that it is akin to the shaggy dog tales my mother recounts, where my eyes glaze over and I look off into the sunset imagining I’m poolside in a resort, sipping on a frozen cocktail somewhere. That being said, it takes a rare talent to render the mundane with such proximity and by that measure, I’ve given this book a rather decent score. Others have been far more generous in their praise and this book was a Booker Prize winner.

I was not massively entertained, nor was I particularly bored by this entry in the 1001 books you must read list. This reminds me of the kinds of scandals that groups of friends endure after years in each other’s company. I’m writing this review quite a few days after having completed reading the novel and my memory of it is sparse – not a great sign I imagine.

4 out of 5 drunken Welshmen can fill more than 300 pages with their antics.

No comments:

Post a Comment