1954, Books, Fiction

Lucky Jim (1954) by Kingsley Amis

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis is a laugh-out-loud novel about what it’s like to feel like a fraud teaching at a university – something I can sort of relate to – while you hate your (sort of) girlfriend, hate your boss, hate your subject matter and generally hate your life – and that hate manifests itself in you screwing everything up.

There are a whole bunch of passages that made me laugh out loud and or at least chuckle, especially the ridiculous climax. Someone’s made a movie out of it and I want to see it – though I’m a little worried that, because it was made in the 1950s, the film will be far tamer than the book.

The one thing I can say against it is that the book has dated somewhat, in that universities aren’t exactly like this any more – at least I suppose they aren’t in England, they sure aren’t in Canada – and also Jim’s kind of
coiled, inarticulate displeasure is rather too English, and too old-school English at that, to really, really connect with someone in the 21st century.

But despite that, I still laughed a lot, though I think Jim would have been more likeable to me, had I been born 50 years earlier.


  • Author: Kingsley Amis
  • Cover artist: Edward Gorey
  • Country: England
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Doubleday (US), Victor Gollancz (UK)
  • Publication date: 1954
  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN: 0-14-018630-1
  • OCLC: 30438025
  • LC Class: 54-5356

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