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P. 1
The Old Devils

The Old Devils

Ratings:

3.39

(123)
|Views: 40|Likes:
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 couples who have been spending their golden years—when “all of a sudden the evening starts starting after breakfast”—nattering, complaining, reminiscing, and, above all, drinking. This more or less orderly social world is thrown off-kilter, however, when two old friends unexpectedly return from England: Alun Weaver, now a celebrated man of Welsh letters, and his entrancing wife, Rhiannon. Long-dormant rivalries and romances are rudely awakened, as life at the Bible and Crown, the local pub, is changed irrevocably. Considered by Martin Amis to be Kingsley Amis’s greatest achievement—a book that “stands comparison with any English novel of the [twentieth] century”—The Old Devils confronts the attrition of ageing with rare candor, sympathy, and moral intelligence.
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 couples who have been spending their golden years—when “all of a sudden the evening starts starting after breakfast”—nattering, complaining, reminiscing, and, above all, drinking. This more or less orderly social world is thrown off-kilter, however, when two old friends unexpectedly return from England: Alun Weaver, now a celebrated man of Welsh letters, and his entrancing wife, Rhiannon. Long-dormant rivalries and romances are rudely awakened, as life at the Bible and Crown, the local pub, is changed irrevocably. Considered by Martin Amis to be Kingsley Amis’s greatest achievement—a book that “stands comparison with any English novel of the [twentieth] century”—The Old Devils confronts the attrition of ageing with rare candor, sympathy, and moral intelligence.

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Publish date: Oct 2, 2012
Added to Scribd: Sep 06, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781590175927
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9781590175927

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lauralkeet reviewed this
Rated 1/5
Oh my god, what a horrible book. The Old Devils revolves around several 60-something Welsh couples who have known each other for years. Alun and Rhiannon Weaver cause a stir when they return to Wales after several years in England. Alun has become somewhat famous for his writing. But Alan has a bit of a past with the ladies in this social group, causing a certain anxiety for both the women and their husbands. And Alun's wife Rhiannon has slept with a couple of these men herself. In fact, it seems as if everyone has slept with everyone else at some point. That is, when they're not drinking themselves into a stupor before noon.The book presents a series of interactions between the characters, usually musing over their gin, or wine, or scotch, or whatever else they can find. I lost track of all the cocktail parties and pub crawls, and the endless chattiness about each other, their health problems, and various social issues of the day. How or why this won the Booker Prize, I'll never know.
dylanwolf reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Although I'm a great admirer of Amis fils, this my first exposure to Amis pere left me cold. This was a dull plod to read. Too much alcohol, too many loathsome characters, too much pointlessness to their lives. Had they no redeeming features? Did any of them ever commit one act of altruism or show a tad of empathy. Good job their lungs will blacken and their livers fail, I say.
samfsmith_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
Senior citizen sex! Have I gotten your attention? Wisely the author did not dscribe the sex in any detail - visualization is left to the reader. But there is plenty of it here. Four or five couples (there are a lot of characters) that have known each other for decades have their lives disrupted when one old couple returns to their hometown. It’s like the TV show “Friends” for seniors - they have all slept with each other.They also do an incredible amount of drinking and smoking, pub crawling all over a fictional Wales. That is part of the theme of the book, searching for the old Wales and the real Welchman. There is a fictional poet that serves as the symbol of that search. Celebrated as a great Welch poet, he didn’t even speak Welch.It’s a good read, full of wry British humor.
depressaholic reviewed this
There isn't enough space here to tell you how much I disliked this book. It was my first Kingsley Amis, and will be my last (for a while, at least). The story involves a celebrated writer returning to his native south Wales, reigniting old friendships and opening old wounds of sexual and professional jealousy. The protagonists are all ageing, and are forced to confront issues that arose between them in the twenties now they are approaching their 60s and beyond.I found everyone (literally everyone) in the book thoroughly dilsikable. They were a bunch of racist, mysoginistic, xenophobic, homophobic, right-wing old men and women who had little or no redeeming features. I actually occassionally enjoy reading about characters I dislike, but their stories bored me and their personalities and lifestyles repelled me. There wasn't, for me, enough satire or irony in Amis' writing to make me think that he was anything other than fully on their sides, making this a fairly repugnant read.
davidroche_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Good if you like Welsh windbags. Great TV adaptation that I've never seen repeated
smiley_13 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Probably Amis' second best book, after "Luck Jim" and ahead of "Take A Girl Like You". A man, famous for being a Welsh celebrity in England, returns to Wales in retirement and confronts old devils in the flesh and of his own making.

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P. 1
The Old Devils