Yup, this Jim, Kingsley Amis’s (father of Martin) Jim, is a lucky fellow – at least for the last 10 pages of the book. For the rest, he’s practically jumping from one pile of crap to the other.
James Dixon is a on probation-lecturer at a British college and, in order to secure a long term job and to scrap a bit of respect from his students and colleagues, he has to put up with: a stuffy absent-minded professor, his pompous self important artist son, a (slightly) mentally unstable but (completely) manipulative girlfriend, a flatmate who does nothing but snitch on him and a pretty girl who’s taken – by none other than the professor’s son.
The plot is very nicely told on Wikipedia – so I’d rather not bother with it 😉 What I want to know is – why on Earth is this book supposed to be one of the funniest ever? I’m really not insensitive to humour 😛 I could see the fragments where laughing was supposed to ensue, but I just couldn’t get myself to do it – not even to smile. It’s on Time’s “All time 100 novels” list, and probably on every classics list floating around, but I just want to say – I didn’t care too much for it. It took me 5 days to get through the first 70 pages – and at that point I was starting to wonder whether I’ll ever finish it. Somehow, to me, it felt tired – the jokes, the characters, the whole set up, in fact – and I can’t blame the author for that one. The book was published more than half a century ago, it was very popular at the time, and I’m sure it somehow influenced other books or movies – to which I got ’round to first.
I actually don’t know if that’s a good explanation – but I’d really like to know what others think about it 😀