Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: One Fat Englishman

Roger Micheldene is One Fat Englishman. An obese publisher on an extended business trip to America, Micheldene (or Mitch Dean as one gauche American insists on calling him) spends his time eating and drinking prodigiously, attempting to bed every woman he meets, and pompously mocking Americans’ intellectual pretensions and taste in cigars.

There is very little in the way of plot. Lots of things happen, but to not much purpose. The point seems to be to compare and contrast American and British sensibilities, as displayed in a mid-60’s, second-tier academic culture. The pleasure lies in Kingsley Amis’s curmudgeonly wit, in passages such as:
To be sure about nonsense he had to be able to classify it, assign it to a family tree of liberal nonsense, humanist-humanitarian nonsense, academic nonsense, Protestant nonsense, Freudian nonsense and so on. Macher’s nonsense stopped before he could get deep enough into it.
Or his dipsomaniacal observations, such as:
Not caring what one drank unfortunately did not guarantee not caring what one had drunk.
Fans will eat it up. Amis neophytes should start with Lucky Jim.


This is one of the books I read for the 2010 Typically British Challenge.


If you would like your review of this or other Amis books listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


  1. Bermuda -- I'm a huge Amis fan, so they are always fun for me. They make me chuckle.

  2. I've had Lucky Jim on my list for a while. This one sound so funny, I think I'll move it up (since you said to start with LJ). BTW, I gave you a book award on my blog. I really enjoy reading your and I wanted to thank you for the entertainment you've provided! Please come over to see.

  3. Carin -- Thanks for the award!

    If you are going to like Amis, you are going to like Lucky Jim. There is a reason it is his most popular. I read it in college and thought it was hilarious. It also made me realize that good literature could be funny, which was a good lesson to learn.


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