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.

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