Review: The Old Devils, by Kingsley Amis

Oh my god, what a horrible book.  The Old Devils revolves around several 60-something Welsh couples who have known each other for years.  Alun and Rhiannon Weaver cause a stir when they return to Wales after several years in England.  Alun has become somewhat famous for his writing.  But Alan has a bit of a past with the ladies in this social group, causing a certain anxiety for both the women and their husbands.  And Alun’s wife Rhiannon has slept with a couple of these men herself.  In fact, it seems as if everyone has slept with everyone else at some point.  That is, when they’re not drinking themselves into a stupor before noon.

The book presents a series of interactions between the characters, usually musing over their gin, or wine, or scotch, or whatever else they can find.  I lost track of all the cocktail parties and pub crawls, and the endless chattiness about each other, their health problems, and various social issues of the day.

How or why this won the Booker Prize, I’ll never know.

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5 thoughts on “Review: The Old Devils, by Kingsley Amis

  1. This review made me laugh! I’ve never been able to finish a Kingsley Amis novel, and I honestly don’t know if that’s my failing as a reader or just that the kinds of stories he tells don’t appeal to me: either way, I enjoyed your review.

    • Thanks, glad I could give you a laugh! I’d never read Amis before but after publishing my review, a friend told me she was surprised I was reading him — she didn’t think he was “my style.” She was right! And I wouldn’t say it’s our failing as a reader. I know you aren’t afraid to tackle challenging literature. This wasn’t challenging, it was just yucky!

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