Age has done everything except mellow the characters in Kingsley Amis’s The Old Devils, which turns its humane and ironic gaze on a group of Welsh married. The Old Devils: A Novel [Kingsley Amis] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. When Alun and Rhiannon Weaver return home to Wales after. Generally I would say not, perhaps even very obviously not but in the case of Kingsley Amis and The Old Devils things are different.

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The area had once been called Monmouthshire but because of a decision taken in London was now called Gwent, after an ancient Welsh kingdom or whatever it was that might have formerly existed there or thereabouts.

The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis

Lists with This Book. His major strength was his ability to create characters who are both horrible and funny. Alun quickly starts having casual sex with many of his old flames, which seems to consist of most of the wives mentioned above, whilst he’s trying to write a book about Wales, which is just an excuse to travel around Od getting drunk with his friends.

I tend to be sympathetic to characters who are aging, fat, and unlovely, since I’m sure this is my kiingsley as well, but this bunch is so thd that I couldn’t muster any interest. The Old Devils is considered to be Amis’s masterpiece by his son, Martin Amiswho wrote in his memoir, “it stands comparison with any English novel of the century. And no, you don’t even need to be born in Wales to appreciate its humour.

The Old Devils

Because they are mainly retired, their day starts winding down shortly after breakfast and so they start drinking. Jun 29, Mikela rated it it was ok Shelves: Anyway, it’s clever and well-written but maybe a little bit dry.


His comic genius relies so much upon build-up, context and impeccable timing that it can only be fully appreciated in its correct setting. Via, si volta pagina e si cambia libro. The drinking seems to begin well before lunch not too long after breakfast in fact and lasts as long as they can keep going into the night.

But that’s not to say the old rogue has gone soft. With the end of its function as a port and the closure of the metal works and the silica quarry, Birdarthur had shown marks of unemployment, but none were visible now that the town had been designated or turned into an enterprise zone and the unemployed had gone away somewhere else.

This is such a wasted opportunity. Some of the set-pieces in the novel are vivid though; mainly th I thought I kingdley have enjoyed this more, given certain of the themes; but I actually found it something of a slog in the end.

Booker club: The Old Devils | Books | The Guardian

What it does confirm is that shock, horror older people still have sex, can be unfaithful, can drink till they odl and fall in an unhappy routine that stretches until paralysis or death.

Much of the old age, the drinking, the snarky observations about others in the social group made me chuckle, but I too often could only catch them in the rearview mirror.

It is like reading soggy cardboard. Also there were vaguely funny incidents such as the whole group getting thrown out of their local pub by the landlord who verbally abuses all of them.

Plenty of time is spent on unflinching portrayals of the physical and mental weaknesses of age. Some of us have got a lot to be thankful for. It’s always feels like a miracle to re-discover that human beings can create art of such astounding and tthe beauty. View all 12 comments. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Such carping o,d disguise the fact that between these men there does exist a close bond that approaches love and affection.


And if it is supposed to be about Wales, the culture real and imaginedand the culture-mongers, then it failed there, too. You are commenting using your Facebook account. But I can see why it won him the Booker Prize insince the overall impression it leaves, at least with this reader, is of Amis conjuring a series of blundering, drink-sodden, self-pitying male “dinosaurs” faced with extinction.

Annabookbel Noli domo egredi, nisi librum habes — Never leave home without a book.

Into this little pool of alcoholic mediocrity arrives one-time poet, media celebrity and professional Devi,s, Alun Weaver and his wife Rhiannon. Another theme is aging and how we come to live with our choices, muddling through, thinking everything will sort itself out in the end.

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Amis showed in ‘Ending Up’ how capable he was of writing dark humour into the vagaries of old age, making that alleged time of non-existence interesting and compulsive reading To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. There are some wonderful cameos of the gang dealing with the infirmities that come with age including the difficulties of getting dressed when an expanding girth gets in the way of something as simple as putting on a pair of socks.

PaperbackVintage Classicspages. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Intermittencies of the Mind. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: While drinking in the house of another acquaintance, Alun drops dead, leaving the rest of the group to pick up the pieces of their brief reunion.

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