In Kingsley Amis' "Difficulties With Girls", Jenny Bunn and Patrick Standish have settled into London life with their troubled courtship long behind them. Patrick works in publishing and Jenny teaches sick children in a hospital. They have reached a certain level of maturity, or so they think. It is not long before they realize their ...
In Kingsley Amis' "Difficulties With Girls", Jenny Bunn and Patrick Standish have settled into London life with their troubled courtship long behind them. Patrick works in publishing and Jenny teaches sick children in a hospital. They have reached a certain level of maturity, or so they think. It is not long before they realize their respectability will be severely tested by seductive neighbours with a taste for whisky, the sexually confused Ted Valentine, and the literary set of Hampstead. In this funny and provocative study of a young couple growing up, Amis shows us that the difficulty with marriage is that it's so hard to preserve, especially when Patrick and Jenny harbour deep yearnings for a different kind of life. Kingsley Amis' (1922-95) works take a humorous yet highly critical look at British society, especially in the period following the end of World War II. Born in London, Amis explored his disillusionment in novels such as "That Uncertain Feeling" (1955). His other works include "The Green Man" (1970), "Stanley and the Women" (1984), and "The Old Devils" (1986), which won the Booker Prize. Amis also wrote poetry, criticism, and short stories.
Publishers Weekly, 1989-02-03 Patrick Standish, ``hardly going bald at all'' at 37, reads girlie magazines and is having an affair with the woman next door. His over-accommodating wife Jenny, 28 and still childless seven years after her miscarriage, cozies up to gamy ex-Washington journalist Oswald Hart in an effort to bring her cad of a husband to his senses. The Standishes' sexual and emotional warfare forms the hub of Amis's wobbly satirical lunge through late 1960s London. Besides Patrick, other men having ``difficulties with girls'' include Timothy Valentine, who left his wife to try homosexuality; Simon Giles, pompous manager at the publishing firm where Patrick works; and Stevie and Eric, a gay couple prone to flamboyant arguments. With Swiftian glee, Amis deflates a menagerie of poets, publishers, academics and other snobs, phonies and egomaniacs. Yet on the whole, his satire is a flaccid, tedious affair that could have been set in the '80s as easily as in the '60s. (Apr.)
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