Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis

Front Cover
Kingsley Amis always claimed that his fiction was not based on his life, and he worked hard and quite successfully at obscuring the autobiographical threads that run through his novels. But they exist, and Richard Bradford traces the channels between Amis's experiences, his states of mind, and his fictionalized versions of both. Bradford's biography shows that it is impossible to offer a comprehensive picture of Amis the man as husband, philanderer, friend, father, jester, son, boozer, agnostic, pseudo-socialist, and club-land Tory without also considering how each dimension of his life tested and extended his literary skills. Sometimes he remodeled the present, particularly during the 1950s when his books reflected his double life as family man and prolific libertine. He revisited the past in novels such as The Riverside Villas Murder, a detective story that tells us much about his early relationship with his father. Less frequently he took revenge, notably with his cruel parody of his second wife Elizabeth Jane Howard in Stanley and the Women. Readers of Amis's books often feel as if they have had a personal encounter with a shadowy presence behind the words, and Bradford's biography embodies this shadow.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LUCKY HIM: The Life of Kingsley Amis

User Review  - Kirkus

Solid, well-written biography that sheds new light on the life and work of the famed British novelist.Kingsley Amis (1922-95) protested throughout his long career that his fictions were not ... Read full review

Lucky him: the biography of Kingsley Amis

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Kingsley Amis (1922-95) is best known in America for his comic novel Lucky Jim, written in 1954, which satirized British academic life and defined the Angry Young Men school of British postwar ... Read full review


List of Illustrations
Oxford and Larkin

22 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Richard Bradford is professor of English at the University of Ulster. He previously has taught in the universities of Oxford, Wales and in Trinity College, Dublin. He has written 12 books on a variety of subjects, including two critical monographs of Kingsley Amis.

Bibliographic information