Alas, Gordon Brown’s Beyond the Crash was just too late to qualify for this month’s Spectator Book Club book of the month. What a sadness. Instead, I’ve picked a book to inspire goodwill in all men: Lucky Jim.
The Spectator originally described Kingsley Amis’ campus classic as ‘that rarest of rare good things, a very funny book’. The general anger that Amis expressed has dissipated into apathy – nowadays it’s the students who feel exercised. But Amis’ craft - the wicked set-pieces, savage wit and his deft prose – remains vivid and modern. Orlando Bird’s piece on Amis’ legacy reminded me of what I’d forgotten of arguably the finest novel ever written by an Amis - let’s have that argument.
PS: Next month, readers will choose the book of the month. Please leave your recommendations in the comments section beneath this post, always accessible from the Book of the Month box in the top right hand corner of every Book Club page. The only criteria are that the book is available in English and in print; other than that, anything goes. Your recommendations will be put to a vote on 21st December.