June 26, 2017

Difficulties with Girls by Kingsley Amis

Difficulties with GirlsAfter starting this one, I discovered it was a sequel to Take a Girl Like You. Ah well, I’ve started so I’ll finish.

In Difficulties with Girls, Kingsley Amis tells us about the lives of married couple Patrick and Jennie. The book is set not long after they’ve moved to London and Patrick’s become a publisher. They live in a set of flats filled with some normal but odd people, the closet gay couple (the book is set as the legislation goes through), the OBE who beats his wife, the newly weds, and a mystery man called Tim.

The book is about how different relationships work, the challenges, the issues and tribulations. Patrick and Jennie have plenty of problems of their own – mostly revolving around not getting what the other wants. Their issues are set against a backdrop of everyone elses – the man who’s bored of his wife/life, the violent arguments but who still end up back together.

It’s a great read, and in places crushingly funny.

Girl, 20 by Kingsley Amis

If you’ve read much of this blog you’ll know I’m a big Martin Amis fan. So I’m having a go at some his Dad’s work too. A long time ago I did read Lucky Jim, and enjoyed that. So now I’m trying Girl, 20.Girl, 20

Our narrator is Douglas Yandell a musician who reviews classic works and is a journalist. He ends up back in contact with his old friend Sir Roy Vandervane – a famous violinist, conductor and composer. Sir Roy embraces the idea of “Girl, 20″ which is how over the years male lust goes for the more and more unobtainable, because what was great last year is now commonplace.

Sir Roy is currently married to Kitty (Lady Vandervane) who’s aware of her husband’s latest fling (she was a bit on the side before she became Mrs) and wants Douglas’ help. Sir Roy also wants Douglas’ help. And it all gets very involved, rather amusing, and at times quite exciting.

I rather enjoyed reading the book, although it did seem to take a lot of getting through – I’ve written in my notes “page 70 and we still seem to be scene setting”. But it does very much speed up towards the end.