Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lucky Jim

Finished Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. It was his first novel, published in 1954. The protagonist, Jim Dixon, is a hapless first year lecturer in Medieval History at a provincial British university. He is constantly in the soup in terms of college and boarding house politics. This was a group read choice of the Anglophiles Anonymous group I belong to on Shelfari. The point was to read something humorous. This book is very funny in parts. In particular, Jim has an entire repertoire of faces that he makes in reaction to various situations. Of these my favorites were his "Evelyn Waugh face" and his "Sex in the Roman Empire face." While the book was funny, I'm afraid I found the story rather painful. I cringed at the situations he found himself in and sometimes dreaded returning to the book. I also had a 1957 library bound copy from the U-M library which had almost no margins or white space on the page. This added to my dread. The one poignant moment towards the end of the book was when Jim finally has something positive happen and realizes that he has no face to express his joy over it. All his faces express either dread or rage. His realization of this seemed to be the turning point for a better future.

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