‘The Alteration’, by Kingsley Amis

Leave a comment

February 22, 2013 by Me and My Monkeys

The Alteration
In The Alteration, lucky Kingsley Amis starts with an immodest premise and keeps on writing till he has a marketable 200 words.

And he ends up with a good book – a ‘Time Romance (TR)’ novel – that turns world history on its head with some macabre situation comedy.

The proposed castration of a young boy is an uneasy starting point for a literary humourist, but Amis overcomes this by playing it straight with young Hubert Anvil, leaning instead on an eerie parallel universe – plus a bevy of religulous misfits – for the comic relief.

Hubert is trapped in a nightmare ‘Counterfeit World’ that is driven by shaky logic and inane spiritual momentum. This is a genius creation by Amis, but perhaps too clever for anyone but late middle-aged British history professors. While Hubert’s predicament keeps us turning the page in sympathy, many of the well-earned laughs will be lost on the Gen X, Y or Z speed reader.

Towards the end, there’s a hint of Sir Kingsley finishing in a sadistic hurry, having had his fun and keen to move on to Jake’s Thing.

Amis: “I didn’t realise that The Alteration was partly saying, Whatever alterations you might make in human circumstances, horrible things will still happen, till after it was published”. (The Letters of Kingsley Amis, p852)

The Alteration isn’t Amis’ best day at the track, but he still comes home well in the black.

Recommended? Maybe, but start elsewhere if you’re new to Amis.

Out of 10? 7

My monkeys suggest:

  • Start with Lucky Jim and work your way through
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

800wpf

Eight hundred words per film. For moviegoers and those only crawling in the world of cinema.

The Daily Omnivore

Everything is Interesting

WellRead40

A path through the great books

Panda's Choice

Film & TV Blog

marcopantella

----------- Writer / Music re-views / inter-views / and my points of view ----------- The GROUND Magazine / HungerTV

REALVJ.COM

The art of the music video

artemis projects

exploring the far side of the moon

A Little Blog of Books

Book reviews and other literary-related musings

Wellreadweare's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

July2061

Microfiction meets Matt Damon

THE FRAME LOOP

A look at films, music and everything in-between

Simply Film

Film Explained Simply

Random Musings

Book Reviews and More..

Grace Hilton

Journalistic recordings of a pursuit of certainty.

Richard & Sophia's Big Adventure

Tales from the trail: 2011-2012

THE WESTWOOD DIGEST

Writing by Emma Westwood. Most likely about movies, monsters, cinematic events and other wild trips. Words should go down nice and easy.

the word of mick

you know I always have an opinion...

%d bloggers like this: