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Girl, 20 af Kingsley Amis
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Girl, 20 (original 1971; udgave 1989)

af Kingsley Amis

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
307964,090 (3.6)9
With a new introdution by Howard Jacobson 'Not only a very funny book, it also hits dozens of nails smartly on the head' Observer Douglas Yandell, a young-ish music critic, is enlisted by Kitty Vandervane to keep an eye on her roving husband - the eminent conductor and would-be radical Sir Roy - as he embarks on yet another affair. Roy, meanwhile, wants Douglas as an alibi for his growing involvement with Sylvia, an unsuitably young woman who loves nothing more than to shock and provoke. Life soon becomes extremely complicated as Douglas finds himself caught up in a frantic, farcical tangle of relationships, rivalry and scandal. Girl, 20 is a merciless send-up of 1970s London's permissive society from a master of uproarious comedy. 'Kingsley Amis has a wicked ear ...... and a stiletto pen for pseuds' The Times… (mere)
Medlem:Scottpark7
Titel:Girl, 20
Forfattere:Kingsley Amis
Info:Summit Books (1989), Paperback, 253 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Girl, 20 af Kingsley Amis (1971)

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I have been reading and hearing the names of the father-son writing duo of Kingsley Amis and Martin Amis for many decades now, and I have even dipped into Martin's oeuvre now and again. (Name Drop Alert: one time I met novelist Margaret Drabble -- her Ice Age was the best book I read in 2019 -- and I mentioned MA's coming to LA in a week and she bristled. Why the dislike? I had to know.) I think I get it now. You see, when Kingsley pere's first novel, Lucky Jim, appeared in 1954, his comic 'tear down the ramparts' approach was part of the Angry Young Men movement of his time, but Amis was anything but angry. He was hilarious and the establishment of that time withered under his caustic onslaughts. Times change. In the space of 17 years and over twenty novels, Amis slowly morphed into a reactionary. What happened? In a word, the 60's. He saw "that for all its high-minded talk [it was] as low and dishonest as any other." He also turned into a curmudgeon, both antiquated and misogynistic. As a music devotee myself, I enjoyed the novel's premise: can the brilliant composer/conductor, sixtyish Sir Roy Vandervane keep both family and career together during his madcap serial pursuits of a younger and younger collective of women, nay, girls? You see, the last one, 17 year old Sylvia (whose father is the editor/boss of our narrator, one Douglas Yandell) is a bull in a China closet. Throughout the story, Douglas is writing away, record reviews of Hayden and Bach boxed sets, concert reviews now and then, a Webern biography, and following his older friends attempt to master Mahler's (aka 'Gus' herein) 8th, all the while courting two wonderful women of his very own. Roy is clearly the younger Yandell's mentor. Quite a literary romp, this one, with a splendid denouement, and leaving me with a craving to revisit Blowup! ( )
  larryking1 | May 7, 2020 |



Flower power packs a powerful topsy-turvy punch on nearly everybody in the late 1960s, even a renowned 54-year old symphony orchestra conductor in London. This is one Kingsley Amis novel I found to be highly engaging, entertaining and, such a pleasant surprise, actually funny – and for a clear-cut reason: the novel is first-person, the narrator, Douglas Yandell, a wishy-washy 34-year old aesthetically attuned classical musician and music critic continually speaks words and makes observations scathing, ironic, biting and occasionally heartfelt. And this in a time when the influence of 60s-style hippie culture was at its peak, when youth and newness were valued for their own sake, buttoned-down Douglas has much cultural material to be scornful and cutting about.

By way of example, Douglas listens to his friend, conductor/violinist Sir Roy Vandervane (many readers, including myself, can’t help picturing Leonard Bernstein) prattle in front of Sylvia, his new 20-year hippie-lover: “I suppose the real division comes between those who want to have and those who want to be. What the have ones want to have can be a lot of different things, not all of them bad in themselves, like political power or personal power. . . it can be possessions, cars and washing-machines and furniture and collections of china and things. The people who want to be can be a lot of different things too, like artists and mystics and philosophers and revolutionaries, some sorts anyway, and just people who live and feel and see. You’ve got to make up your mind whether you’re a have person or a be person.”

Sir Roy is the central character and much of the novel revolves around his musical life and personal life, especially his personal life and influence on his wife and children. Kingsley Amis is an excellent writer and all of the characters are sharply drawn and fully realized. One aspect of character (or lack of character) particularly struck me: how on one level all these men and women are living a rather slovenly existence, not only continually, and I mean continually, plying themselves with liquor but also – many scenes take place during meals - mindlessly shoveling food into their mouths. I wouldn’t want to be too harsh her, but these Brits come off as a gaggle of slubberdegluttons.

Performing and appreciating music is pivotal, most particularly for Sir Roy and the narrator. At one point, Douglas finds Sir Roy’s trendy, new age composition for violin, sitar, bass guitar and bongos entitled Elevations 9 positively appalling, entirely disrespectful and degrading to the great tradition of classical music. By way of an interior monologue, Kingsley Amis lets us know the narrator’s damning judgment also applies to the likes of John Cage. Turns out, when Sir Roy performs Elevations 9 on violin with a rock group called Pigs Out, the music is, in fact, awful.

Although Elevations 9, a mixing of instruments right out of the 60s, receives a well-deserved lampooning in this novel, I must disagree with Douglas (and indirectly with the author – sorry, Kingsley) - 20th century composers such as John Cage, Philip Glass and Morton Feldman with their innovative approaches are a tremendous development in the tradition of classical music. Also, the movement that began in the 1960s combining Western classical instruments with other traditions such as classical Indian, alternative and jazz is a development both spectacular and musically profound.

On this last point I offer three amazing examples: Yehudi Menuhin with Ravi Shankar - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZRqu3vJMA0; Zakir Hussein with Charles Lloyd - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-OSqHAeLBU; Ravi Shankar with Jean-Pierre Rampal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN4vxZ8gvjY

Back on the novel. Each and every page is filled with many pinpoint zingers, social and cultural commentary you will not want to miss. Highly recommended.


Zakir Hussain playing tabla with the Kronos String Quartet ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Flower power packs a powerful topsy-turvy punch on nearly everybody in the late 1960s, even a renowned 54-year old symphony orchestra conductor in London. This is one Kingsley Amis novel I found to be highly engaging, entertaining and, such a pleasant surprise, actually funny – and for a clear-cut reason: the novel is first-person, the narrator, Douglas Yandell, a wishy-washy 34-year old aesthetically attuned classical musician and music critic continually speaks words and makes observations scathing, ironic, biting and occasionally heartfelt. And this in a time when the influence of 60s-style hippie culture was at its peak, when youth and newness were valued for their own sake, buttoned-down Douglas has much cultural material to be scornful and cutting about.

By way of example, Douglas listens to his friend, conductor/violinist Sir Roy Vandervane (many readers, including myself, can’t help picturing Leonard Bernstein) prattle in front of Sylvia, his new 20-year hippie-lover: “I suppose the real division comes between those who want to have and those who want to be. What the have ones want to have can be a lot of different things, not all of them bad in themselves, like political power or personal power. . . it can be possessions, cars and washing-machines and furniture and collections of china and things. The people who want to be can be a lot of different things too, like artists and mystics and philosophers and revolutionaries, some sorts anyway, and just people who live and feel and see. You’ve got to make up your mind whether you’re a have person or a be person.”

Sir Roy is the central character and much of the novel revolves around his musical life and personal life, especially his personal life and influence on his wife and children. Kingsley Amis is an excellent writer and all of the characters are sharply drawn and fully realized. One aspect of character (or lack of character) particularly struck me: how on one level all are living a rather slovenly existence, not only continually, and I mean continually, plying themselves with liquor but also – many scenes take place during meals - mindlessly shoveling food into their mouths. I wouldn’t want to be too harsh her, but these Brits come off as a gaggle of slubberdegluttons.

Performing and appreciating music is pivotal, most particularly for Sir Roy and the narrator. At one point, Douglas finds Sir Roy’s trendy, new age composition for violin, sitar, bass guitar and bongos entitled ‘Elevations 9’ positively appalling, entirely disrespectful and degrading to the great tradition of classical music. By way of an interior monologue, Kingsley Amis lets us know the narrator’s damning judgment also applies to the likes of John Cage. Turns out, when Sir Roy performs ‘Elevations 9’ on violin with a rock group called “Pigs Out,” the music is, in fact, awful.

Although ‘Elevations 9’, a mixing of instruments right out of the 60s, receives a well-deserved lampooning in this novel, I must disagree with Douglas (and indirectly with the author – sorry, Kingsley) - 20th century composers such as John Cage, Philip Glass and Morton Feldman with their innovative approaches are a tremendous development in the tradition of classical music. Also, the movement that began in the 1960s combining Western classical instruments with other traditions such as classical Indian, alternative and jazz is likewise a great development. On this last point I offer three spectacular examples: Yehudi Menuhin with Ravi Shankar - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZRqu... Zakir Hussein with Charles Lloyd - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-OSq... Ravi Shankar with Jean-Pierre Rampal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN4vx...

Back on the novel. Each and every page is filled with many pinpoint zingers, social and cultural commentary you will not want to miss. Highly recommended. ( )
  GlennRussell | Mar 11, 2017 |
What a difference 17 years makes; from 1954’s ‘Lucky Jim’ to 1971’s ‘Girl, 20’, with Amis going from 32 to 49. The style is still there: eminently British, of course, with dry humor and clever turns of phrase, and with a plot featuring adultery and alcohol, two of his favorite things, but my goodness, how stodgy he seems to have become. The plot to ‘Girl, 20’ is pretty straightforward: a distinguished, well-known, and married musician has had a series of affairs with increasingly younger women, and is now seeing someone who is 17. He has a friend and confidant in a music reviewer who dislikes the girl, but what he really hates is the fact that the musician has taken on a collaborative project fusing classical music with pop, which he doesn’t consider music. It’s through this confidant’s eyes that the novel is narrated, and who Amis channels his satire of the younger generation of the 60’s. Yes, he saves most of his righteous indignation for that, rather than the underage relationship. In addition to the music, he criticizes the anti-war movement, idealism, and the questioning of materialism and established ways of living. He does it in a rather snide way, showing youth of the 60’s as not only misguided and puerile, but mean and violent. He also seems to try to walk a line on race, having his characters express openness to interracial relationships, but others express stereotypes. Amis’s writing is engaging (though sometimes cryptic, as he is fond of subtle references and multiple negatives, among other things), but his plot in this one doesn’t really go anywhere. There were times when I chuckled while I read it, but as I think about it now, there’s just not a lot of joy here, and it’s a letdown compared to ‘Lucky Jim’ and ‘The Green Man’. ( )
1 stem gbill | Mar 11, 2017 |

Flower power packs a powerful topsy-turvy punch on nearly everybody in the late 1960s, even a renowned 54-year old symphony orchestra conductor in London. This is one Kingsley Amis novel I found to be highly engaging, entertaining and, such a pleasant surprise, actually funny – and for a clear-cut reason: the novel is first-person, the narrator, Douglas Yandell, a wishy-washy 34-year old aesthetically attuned classical musician and music critic continually speaks words and makes observations scathing, ironic, biting and occasionally heartfelt. And this in a time when the influence of 60s-style hippie culture was at its peak, when youth and newness were valued for their own sake, buttoned-down Douglas has much cultural material to be scornful and cutting about.

By way of example, Douglas listens to his friend, conductor/violinist Sir Roy Vandervane (many readers, including myself, can’t help picturing Leonard Bernstein) prattle in front of Sylvia, his new 20-year hippie-lover: “I suppose the real division comes between those who want to have and those who want to be. What the have ones want to have can be a lot of different things, not all of them bad in themselves, like political power or personal power. . . it can be possessions, cars and washing-machines and furniture and collections of china and things. The people who want to be can be a lot of different things too, like artists and mystics and philosophers and revolutionaries, some sorts anyway, and just people who live and feel and see. You’ve got to make up your mind whether you’re a have person or a be person.”

Sir Roy is the central character and much of the novel revolves around his musical life and personal life, especially his personal life and influence on his wife and children. Kingsley Amis is an excellent writer and all of the characters are sharply drawn and fully realized. One aspect of character (or lack of character) particularly struck me: how on one level all are living a rather slovenly existence, not only continually, and I mean continually, plying themselves with liquor but also – many scenes take place during meals - mindlessly shoveling food into their mouths. I wouldn’t want to be too harsh her, but these Brits come off as a gaggle of slubberdegluttons.

Performing and appreciating music is pivotal, most particularly for Sir Roy and the narrator. At one point, Douglas finds Sir Roy’s trendy, new age composition for violin, sitar, bass guitar and bongos entitled ‘Elevations 9’ positively appalling, entirely disrespectful and degrading to the great tradition of classical music. By way of an interior monologue, Kingsley Amis lets us know the narrator’s damning judgment also applies to the likes of John Cage. Turns out, when Sir Roy performs ‘Elevations 9’ on violin with a rock group called “Pigs Out,” the music is, in fact, awful.

Although ‘Elevations 9’, a mixing of instruments right out of the 60s, receives a well-deserved lampooning in this novel, I must disagree with Douglas (and indirectly with the author – sorry, Kingsley) - 20th century composers such as John Cage, Philip Glass and Morton Feldman with their innovative approaches are a tremendous development in the tradition of classical music. Also, the movement that began in the 1960s combining Western classical instruments with other traditions such as classical Indian, alternative and jazz is likewise a great development. On this last point I offer three spectacular examples: Yehudi Menuhin with Ravi Shankar - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZRqu3vJMA0; Zakir Hussein with Charles Lloyd - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-OSqHAeLBU; Ravi Shankar with Jean-Pierre Rampal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN4vxZ8gvjY

Back on the novel. Each and every page is filled with many pinpoint zingers, social and cultural commentary you will not want to miss. Highly recommended.

( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Viser 1-5 af 9 (næste | vis alle)
Amis seems to have learned, like Shaw, that it may pay artistically to allow the devil a lot of the best lines. Even the appalling Sylvia and Roy’s daughter Penny, who has an affair with Douglas, are allowed to state their case. When Sylvia, whose behaviour throughout is at best indifferent to other human beings and at worst totally vicious, is attacked by the cautious and bourgeois Douglas, her retort has its power...

Girl, 20 was praised on its publication in 1971, but still not praised enough. It is a masterly novel, one in which Amis co-ordinates for the first time his tastes, his theme and his talents. The episodic form is perfect for what he wants to convey; the picture of a self-ordered hell in which people move around endlessly in the same routine has a consistent power absent from most of his writing.
tilføjet af SnootyBaronet | RedigerTimes Literary Supplement, Julian Symons
 

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With a new introdution by Howard Jacobson 'Not only a very funny book, it also hits dozens of nails smartly on the head' Observer Douglas Yandell, a young-ish music critic, is enlisted by Kitty Vandervane to keep an eye on her roving husband - the eminent conductor and would-be radical Sir Roy - as he embarks on yet another affair. Roy, meanwhile, wants Douglas as an alibi for his growing involvement with Sylvia, an unsuitably young woman who loves nothing more than to shock and provoke. Life soon becomes extremely complicated as Douglas finds himself caught up in a frantic, farcical tangle of relationships, rivalry and scandal. Girl, 20 is a merciless send-up of 1970s London's permissive society from a master of uproarious comedy. 'Kingsley Amis has a wicked ear ...... and a stiletto pen for pseuds' The Times

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