Title: The Old Devils
Author: Kingsley Amis
Page Count/Review Word Count: 384
I have mixed feelings about this book, but on the whole I have to say that I enjoyed this, even if it was a little tedious in places. The biggest problem was that it felt like nothing much really happened, although it did pick up towards the end once I felt a little more invested. But the characters weren’t particularly relatable, just the bog standard old boys club, and I felt like the book suffered a little because of its publication date. It won the Booker Prize in 1986, and it kind of feels too old to be modern and too modern to be a classic.
That’s the bad news taken care of. The good news is that other than that, it was pretty good. It basically follows what happens when a moderately famous Welshman decides to return to his old haunts and the ensuing chaos that’s caused. There are characters sleeping around and it can sometimes be difficult to follow, but it’s also eminently believable.
For me, I thought it was a little duller than some of the other stuff that I read, but I’m also glad that I’ve now read a Kingsley Amis book. I probably won’t read any more of his work unless I come across it at a charity shop, and that kind of sums up how I feel about this one. I’m glad I read it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it – and if I were you, I wouldn’t go out of the way to get it.
That’s about all I can think to say about it, but I still have another hundred words or so to fill out with my review because of the rule I have where I write one word for every page in the book. It probably would have helped both my review and the book itself if it was a little shorter, but perhaps that’s just because I’ve grown so used to reading shorter books from the new millennium.
Amis has something in his style that’s reminiscent of Graham Greene, but I’d rather read Greene if I was given the choice. Either is pretty solid, though. Up to you.