THE GREEN MAN by Kingsley Amis


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Mr. Amis' new novel, superficially at least, is a ghost story in which his hero Allington who runs The Green Man (a very elegant inn but also a haunted house) is beset on all sides--by his own nocturnal hallucinations, by everpresent hypochondria, and by the encroachment of delirium tremens since he drinks a bottle a day. But when he stops, he is even more prone to the beyond-the-grave disturbances of a 17th century scholar, Underhill, who did a fair amount of damage in his own time (two murders are attributed to him). On the other hand, Allington, who has every reason to be exhausted, is contemplating an orgy a trois between his own listless (to him) wile and the very attractive Diana. From these disparate and indeed disjunctive materials one is not sure just where the novel is going or whether it's getting anywhere. But in between, and emphasized at the close, there is a good deal said about life (which would justify the impulsive sexual vagaries) and death (which validates the absorption with the deceased Underhill and his apparent afterlife) and the pressing, overburdened matters of sheer existence, let alone endurance, during this brief five day period. If none of it coalesces altogether, there is still Mr. Amis' catchy, sophisticated talk which however small is always diverting.
Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 1970
ISBN: 0897332202
Page count: 252pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1970


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