Matthew Adams

Battle Acts

Complete Stories

By

Penguin Classics 528pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

Kingsley Amis’s critical lexicon was not a large one. It turned upon a single word – ‘good’ – dispensed with dashes of intensification or qualification as occasion demanded. The summit of his approbation was a fulsome ‘bloody good’. ‘Good’ meant that you had done really quite well; ‘some good’ (Amis’s verdict on his own body of novels) was not bad at all; and a curt ‘no good’ was about as damning as you could get. Unless, as Christopher Hitchens records in his memoir, Hitch-22, you happened to have produced something of the order of Graham Greene’s The Human Factor, which Amis declared ‘Absolutely no. Bloody good. AT ALL!’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter