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The Amis Collection: Selected Non-fiction

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This collection is vintage Amis from a succcession of good years. A selection of his non-fiction pieces in the form of reviews, articles, broadcasts and letters are gathered together in this book. Topics such as writers and writing, "abroad", eating and drinking, music, language, educational and social questions are examined. Such Amis hobby-horses as arts subsidies, This collection is vintage Amis from a succcession of good years. A selection of his non-fiction pieces in the form of reviews, articles, broadcasts and letters are gathered together in this book. Topics such as writers and writing, "abroad", eating and drinking, music, language, educational and social questions are examined. Such Amis hobby-horses as arts subsidies, literary prizes and jazz are also featured as well as writers such as Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell, Anthony Burgess and Ian Fleming. Among poets, the great Victorians are celebrated, and serious consideration is given to Philip Larkin.


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This collection is vintage Amis from a succcession of good years. A selection of his non-fiction pieces in the form of reviews, articles, broadcasts and letters are gathered together in this book. Topics such as writers and writing, "abroad", eating and drinking, music, language, educational and social questions are examined. Such Amis hobby-horses as arts subsidies, This collection is vintage Amis from a succcession of good years. A selection of his non-fiction pieces in the form of reviews, articles, broadcasts and letters are gathered together in this book. Topics such as writers and writing, "abroad", eating and drinking, music, language, educational and social questions are examined. Such Amis hobby-horses as arts subsidies, literary prizes and jazz are also featured as well as writers such as Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell, Anthony Burgess and Ian Fleming. Among poets, the great Victorians are celebrated, and serious consideration is given to Philip Larkin.

33 review for The Amis Collection: Selected Non-fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Since I read Paul Fussell's book, "The Anti-Egoist: Kingley Amis, Man of Letters," it seemed like a good idea to actually read some of Amis's nonfiction. Now I've read more than I ever want to again. On the one hand he is definitely a good, clear writer, and he has a way of disliking something that makes you want to agree with him, or at least feel unnatural for not doing so. There's one essay at the beginning in which he dismisses most of American literature (James/Melville/Twain--Nabokov, Since I read Paul Fussell's book, "The Anti-Egoist: Kingley Amis, Man of Letters," it seemed like a good idea to actually read some of Amis's nonfiction. Now I've read more than I ever want to again. On the one hand he is definitely a good, clear writer, and he has a way of disliking something that makes you want to agree with him, or at least feel unnatural for not doing so. There's one essay at the beginning in which he dismisses most of American literature (James/Melville/Twain--Nabokov, even) that's kind of breathtaking in its amusing disdain. He has a healthy dislike of pretension and (especially) of "experts" deciding what makes a piece of art good. On the other hand, after three-hundred pages of dislike, you start to wonder if he's capable of liking anything, really. At least anything currently around him. Fussell plays up his "populism," and equates his dislike of all forms of modernism and anything difficult as evidence of that. But you soon realize that Amis doesn't much care for what everyday people like either--maybe he doesn't notice it, but he's frequently insulting them for their uneducated taste for tripe. So you get a slim description of certain things he likes--Larkin, Tennyson, old mysteries, Robert Heinlein, Anthony Powell, alcohol. And a large swath of things that show evidence of how things have dropped off since he was young: jazz, sci-fi, different cities, etc. etc. etc. Even ignoring his "social commentary" (read: knee-jerk dismissal of anything left-leaning) it becomes heavy going, the humor labored and less funny than he thinks. When he got to complaining that eyeglasses were made wrong nowadays, and he can't get any that don't slide down his nose, I realized that he was just a crank. A talented, occasionally entertaining, often annoyingly wrong-headed crank.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    Very good collection of non-fiction. The restaurant reviews are hilarious, the other pieces are all both fascinating and beautifully written (whether you're in agreement with him or not).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nightocelot

  4. 5 out of 5

    Edward Waverley

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jane

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tarrant

  8. 4 out of 5

    D. Robert Bailey

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathe

  10. 5 out of 5

    Glossy

  11. 4 out of 5

    August

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ihsan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Neil Richardson

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jesse K

  16. 4 out of 5

    Se84

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tarrant

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark Sullivan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michiel

  22. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dstephenc

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adam Kelly

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Govind Rajan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mahreen Khan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Giosué

  31. 4 out of 5

    Paul Wilner

  32. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

  33. 4 out of 5

    Maruti Sridhar

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