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One Fat Englishman

One Fat Englishman

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by Kingsley Amis
     
 

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The hero of One Fat Englishman, a literary publisher and lapsed Catholic escaped from the pages of Graham Greene to the campus of Budweiser College in provincial Pennsylvania, is philandering, drunken, bigoted, and very very fat, not to mention in a state of continuous spluttering rage against everything, not least his own overgrown self. In America, Roger

Overview

The hero of One Fat Englishman, a literary publisher and lapsed Catholic escaped from the pages of Graham Greene to the campus of Budweiser College in provincial Pennsylvania, is philandering, drunken, bigoted, and very very fat, not to mention in a state of continuous spluttering rage against everything, not least his own overgrown self. In America, Roger Micheldene must deal with not so obliging suburban housewives, aspiring Jewish novelists who as good as clean his clock, stray deer, bad cigars, children who beat him at Scrabble (“It was no wonder that people were horrible when they started life as children”), and America itself, while making ever-more desperate and humiliating overtures to Helen, a Scandinavian ice queen. If only Roger would dare to show some real feeling of his own. This comic masterpiece—about the 1950s crashing drunkenly into the consumerist 1960s and a final scion of a disintegrating Old World empire encountering its upstart New World offspring—is one of Kingsley Amis’s greatest and most caustic performances.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This comic masterpiece about the 1950s crashing drunkenly into the consumerist 1960s, is one of Amis’ greatest and most caustic performances.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Amis’s funniest novel since Lucky Jim.” —Newsweek

“Very funny...splendidly slapstick...and serious too.... A satire of wit and intelligence that class it with the best.” —The Times Literary Supplement

“The book is an underhand attack on the Englishman at large.... Amis gets in a few telling swipes at Americans and nymphomaniacs and gourmets and the people in publishing business and anything you care to mention and manages at the same time to write a beautifully witty novel.” —Vogue

“Whatever happened to Lucky Jim? He got fat. That’s the answer Kingsley Amis gives us ten years and four novels on and many people are going to find it hilariously diverting. Rightly so.” —Birmingham Post

“In the light of Amis’s subsequent literary development, and all the biographical information that has emerged since his death, it seems a much more comprehensible and interesting novel—also much funnier, in its black way, than I remembered.... One Fat Englishman is certainly a much less comfortable read than Lucky Jim, but no longer seems as inferior to it as I once thought.” —David Lodge, The Guardian
 
“[Protagonist] Roger Micheldene is a fat, slothful, lecherous and wrathful English publisher in the United States on as little business as he can get away with. This novel chronicles his attempts to drink as many drinks, eat as many meals and seduce as many women during his short stay as is humanly possible.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Mr. Amis is a subtle writer.... He has managed to write a commentary on America without seeming to write a commentary on America.” —The Washington Post
 
“The conversation is corrosive; and the characterizations, wickedly penetrating. Not to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Roger Micheldene, the fat Englishman, who is the titular hero of Kingsley Amis’s new novel, is easily the most repulsive figure that the imaginative Amis has invented so far, and that is saying a good deal.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“Like the early Evelyn Waugh, Amis has perfected the cool contemptuous tone so necessary to the comedy of bestiality, an extreme form of caricature that permits no faltering sympathy for its subject. Technically, the novel is virtually without flaw.” —The Washington Post
 
“Kingsley Amis writes of his fat Englishman with a mixture of contempt and sympathy. The sympathy is hard to share.” —The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590176627
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
09/17/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
719,379
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.20(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“In the light of Amis’s subsequent literary development, and all the biographical information that has emerged since his death, it seems a much more comprehensible and interesting novel—also much funnier, in its black way, than I remembered.... One Fat Englishman is certainly a much less comfortable read than Lucky Jim, but no longer seems as inferior to it as I once thought.” —David Lodge, The Guardian
 
“[Protagonist] Roger Micheldene is a fat, slothful, lecherous and wrathful English publisher in the United States on as little business as he can get away with. This novel chronicles his attempts to drink as many drinks, eat as many meals and seduce as many women during his short stay as is humanly possible.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Very funny...splendidly slapstick...and serious too.... A satire of wit and intelligence that class it with the best.” —The Times Literary Supplement
 
“Amis’s funniest novel since Lucky Jim.” —Newsweek
 
“The book is an underhand attack on the Englishman at large.... Amis gets in a few telling swipes at Americans and nymphomaniacs and gourmets and the people in publishing business and anything you care to mention and manages at the same time to write a beautifully witty novel.” —Vogue
 
“Mr. Amis is a subtle writer.... He has managed to write a commentary on America without seeming to write a commentary on America.” —The Washington Post
 
“Whatever happened to Lucky Jim? He got fat. That’s the answer Kingsley Amis gives us ten years and four novels on and many people are going to find it hilariously diverting. Rightly so.” —Birmingham Post
 
“The conversation is corrosive; and the characterizations, wickedly penetrating. Not to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Roger Micheldene, the fat Englishman, who is the titular hero of Kingsley Amis’s new novel, is easily the most repulsive figure that the imaginative Amis has invented so far, and that is saying a good deal.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“Like the early Evelyn Waugh, Amis has perfected the cool contemptuous tone so necessary to the comedy of bestiality, an extreme form of caricature that permits no faltering sympathy for its subject. Technically, the novel is virtually without flaw.” —The Washington Post
 
“Kingsley Amis writes of his fat Englishman with a mixture of contempt and sympathy. The sympathy is hard to share.” —The New York Times

Meet the Author

Kingsley Amis (1922–1995) was a popular and prolific British novelist, poet, and critic, widely regarded as one of the greatest satirical writers of the twentieth century. Born in suburban South London, the only child of a clerk in the office of the mustard-maker Colman’s, he went to the City of London School on the Thames before winning an English scholarship to St. John’s College, Oxford, where he began a lifelong friendship with fellow student Philip Larkin. Following service in the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals during World War II , he completed his degree and joined the faculty at the University College of Swansea in Wales. Lucky Jim, his first novel, appeared in 1954 to great acclaim and won a Somerset Maugham Award. Amis spent a year as a visiting fellow in the creative writing department of Princeton University and in 1961 became a fellow at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, but resigned the position two years later, lamenting the incompatibility of writing and teaching (“I found myself fit for nothing much more exacting than playing the gramophone after three supervisions a day”). Ultimately he published twenty-four novels, including science fiction and a James Bond sequel; more than a dozen collections of poetry, short stories, and literary criticism; restaurant reviews and three books about drinking; political pamphlets and a memoir; and more. Amis received the Booker Prize for his novel The Old Devils in 1986 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990. He had three children, among them the novelist Martin Amis, with his first wife, Hilary Anne Bardwell, from whom he was divorced in 1965. After his second, eighteen-year marriage to the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard ended in 1983, he lived in a London house with his first wife and her third husband.

David Lodge is a novelist and critic and Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, England. His novels include Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work, and A Man of Parts. His most recent works of criticism are Consciousness and the Novel and The Year of Henry James.

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One Fat Englishman 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very funny, and very complex book. This story is told through the eyes of an Englishman visiting America. His scathing criticisms of American culture are often dead-on, but made palatable by the fact that this One Fat Englishman is worse than all the Yanks put together.