Kingsley Amis: The King's English
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I read my first Kingsley Amis novel a few years back. Canít remember the title. Iím terrible about things like titles. Back in the days of LPs I wouldnít be able to remember the name of a song I liked just that it was the third cut on Side 2.
A couple of years ago I read Lucky Jim and quickly read all the rest. Or all the Amis books Iím apt to ever read. The Anti-Death League I read about half of before deciding that it wasnít going to give me any pleasure. And Iíve never felt tempted to read his ghost novel.
Amisí clarity and individuality proved captivating enough to order his memoirs and essays. Both volumes proved equally enjoyable. If any of his correspondence makes it to the shop Iíll give those a try. Amisí particular gift of wit makes him seem like heíd have been a great letter writer.
Iíd been patiently waiting for The Kingís English to come into the shop. When my tax refund came I figured I could allow myself two books and ordered The Kingís English.
Iíd expected an essay collection on the theme of language. The book is a handbook of prescription and comment, arranged alphabetically. I need plenty of reminders of the right way to do things. The prose is pleasant enough but doesnít offer the pleasure of Amisí essays. The most sustained entries are perhaps two pages.
I donít regret having bought the book but wonít be keeping it and canít think of anything to quote.