October 11th, 2009

thinking

Lucky Him: Life & Novels of Kingsley Amis



Kingsley Amis always denied that his novels were autobiographical. It was always obvious to the general reader, namely myself, that this wasn’t true. David Bradford has written a biography, Lucky Him based entirely on the novels, arguing that Amis put aspects of himself into his main characters, often very unflattering portraits. His marriages, affairs and relationships are, according to Professor Bradford, all trackable through the novels. I accept this thesis with some reservations. Easy to make out a case for seeing Jean Lewis (That Uncertain Feeling), Barbara Bowen (I Like it Here) and Jenny Bunn (Take a Girl Like You) as versions of Hilly, Amis’s first wife and last love. Trickier, I think, to argue that The Riverside Villas Murder is really a dialogue between Amis and his father.
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