©1953 Kingsley Amis; (P)1997 Chivers Audio Books
"Paul Shelley's wonderful narration ably amplifies the story and brings vivid characters to life. His rich British accent is a joy, in addition to being very soothing. Shelley knows just how to read the text so we hear all the wit, anger, and subtlety in Amis' words....This makes listening to Lucky Jim a delicious experience." (AudioFile)
I think sometimes people click "unhelpful" when they mean "I disagree". Can there be an agree/ disagree button next to the helpful option?
I read Lucky Jim in college and thought it was funny and strange. I read it again in grad school for it's delicious dig at academia. This time, when I listened to it thinking it would be pleasant nostalgia, I was amazed to find it had morphed into a beautiful, complex novel in which the pleasure of living comes as a delicious and masterful surprise. If you can read the same book three times in as many decades and love it each time for completely different reasons - I'd say it's a pretty good book. Add to cart.
I loved this book. It has subtle, hilarious qualities. I loved the sarcasm.
If you combined David Sedaris with Charles Dickens, you would get Lucky Jim. Simply brilliant in the subtle nature of the comedy. I have listened to dozens of books, this is among the finest. You will not be dissapointed.
Considered by some critics to be the funniest book ever written, this is a very wry British comedy about a bored junior professor teaching Medieval History in a small provincial university, who manages to sabotage his own career and still come out of it all on top while making everyone else look ridiculous.
1. A more complex and darker Bertie Wooster, yet still funny.
It may be that I had recently been rereading the comic creations of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster series, but I was reminded of Wodehouse in listening to this book. In Wodehouse, Bertie is surrounded by absurdly delightful characters. Dixon, Amis' protagonist, is likewise surrounded by characters nearly as absurd. Dixon is more complex, darker and conflicted than Bertie. And his grand lecture on Merry England was not quite as uproarious as Gussie Finknottle's prize-giving speech at Market Snodsbury Grammar school.
2. This book contains perhaps the best, and certainly one of most extended descriptions of trying to fall asleep when drunk.
3. Paul Shelley's performance is excellent and brings the characters to life.
This is humor for misanthropes. What wit there is depends on the not terribly likable main character feeling superior to others. A great deal is slapstick, and the much loved speech scene left me cold. There is a special vein of misogyny that made my flesh crawl. In the last chapter, the hero's view (and evidently the author's) is spelled out quite openly: even a not terribly nice woman can be salvaged if she's attractive enough, while a somewhat less than average (though apparently not ugly) woman is to be avoided, because she's doomed to be bitter and crazy simply through the misfortune of her looks. Ugh. Well, if this is what you want, the narrator is good.
I purchased this because I was looking for a good laugh and from my research I found that this is supposedly one of the funniest books of all time. That statement is not true in the least bit. The humor is all slap stick and expects the audience to be amused by the hero performing cruel tricks on others for selfish reasons.
This was supposed to be a really funny book. I have a pretty ready laugh, and- whatever it says about me- I'm not above laughing at others expense. Slapstick humor and petty pranks are pretty much right up my alley, but Lucky Jim left me flat. I might have cracked a smile twice.
It has its merits. The writing is good in and of itself. The characters were interesting if confusing and unrealistic. The romance was bizarre, but I kind of rooted for it. On the whole, though, it just didn't do anything for me. I'm almost resentful that I spent a credit on it and wasted my time listening to it.
The only thing that saved this from a total loss to me (and the thing which accounts for my rating) is the narrator. He's quite good. The voices aren't overarticulated, so I suppose sometimes it might be hard to tell who's talking during exchanges of dialogue, but I like that in a narrator. Men who try to do women's voices too often have them coming off whiney. I'll get this narrator again.
I read this in the hopes of a Catch-22-like experience. It was far from it. Not a bad book, but never hilarious--just very slightly funny, if that.
As part of a book club, you are almost certain to find a book or two that is not of your liking. I knew this book was considered to fall ever so slightly in the category of British comedy. However, the only thing that made me laugh, was the fact that I sat there and listened to this book and I still don't understand what it was meant to reveal or what it truly was about. The narrator was fine, it was just the book content that bored me. I've listened to other audio books and love how they bring life to the characters. Listen to Ruby Dee 'perform' the book Their Eyes Were Watching God. Oh well, not a book or audiobook I'd recommend.
"Lucky Jim revisited"
Having read Lucky Jim many years ago, I was intrigued to listen to the audiobook. In may ways the audiobook is better than the book, because the narrator's intonation gives clues about the author's intentions. This applies especially to the dialogue where surprise, irony, anger etc are conveyed by the narrator's voice in addition to the text. The result is wonderful. There are plenty of comic moments with frequent 'laugh out loud' passages. I found it hugely enjoyable and recommend it to anyone who likes down to earth literature.
I had high hopes for this audiobook after reading the book, enraptured, when I should have been revising for my finals. High hopes and grave fears I should say, as an annoying narrator would have felt like vandalism of one of my fondest reads. That I didn't think about anything other than the story almost as soon as listening says it all - a wonderfully funny book delivered in the way it deserves.
Very professionally and enjoyably read.
"Of its time"
Set very much in a particular time and historical context, especially in regard to gender and class, and so needs to be read with this in mind. I enjoyed the internal monologue and comment on academia. It was more than humorous and I enjoyed the continuous failures. Great insight into who, and at what time, certain 'privileged'' people can say 'I was just lucky'.
The marriage of one of the funniest books i've read (heard) in a long long time, with one of the best readings it's possible to imagine. Paul Shelley creates a different voice and delivery for each character, and his comic timing and intonation are surely impossible to better. The book itself is brilliant, and had me laughing out loud on many occasions. All in all, this has made lucky jim my favourite audiobook for many a year, and I was sad to finish it. I'll be seeking out more Kingsley Amis, and more Paul Shelley.
"Laughed out loud"
I'm giving this book five stars as it was super enjoyable, really funny and so well written. The narrator was excellent, although the audio quality is not the best. But not bad enough to ruin it. Totally recommended.
Very funny and strangely life affirming. Great book and excellent narration.
"Really enjoyed this book"
This is a wonderful book that dissects the daily trivia of life. Beautifully read with great characterisation. Looking forward to listening to this got me out on a daily walk hail or rain. My favourite audio book this year.
"A bit slow, but enjoyable"
I've not read this book before, so it was all new to me. I must admit, after about 2 hours of listening, I was almost ready to give up listening as nothing at all was happening. I'm glad I didn't give up though, as it did get better, and, towards the end, I found I was looking forward to the next part of it.
So, it's not a thrilling exciting book, but it is pleasant, and is quite funny once you give it chance.
"Lucky Him.....will we still love him tomorrow?"
Kingsley Amis is fast disappearing into an obscurity which was anything but his trademark in life.
Having grown up near Swansea and ascended through Higher Education when the bricks were still red, it's lovely to hear the campy chitter chatter of the busying classes living their lives around the sort of student penury that is today a rosy glow of nostalgia and take knowing glances at Athro Hanes and his indentured clan.
As much as this world of the university is a much missed mile away, so to is the claret fuelled bonhomie of Sir Kingsley Amis, knight of the realm, CBE, establishment bonne viveur and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
I wonder if anyone under 40 years of age remembers his name and whether this book will be read in ten years time?
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