Difficulties with Girls by Kingsley Amis - review by Rhoda Koenig

Rhoda Koenig

Marriage à la Mode

Difficulties with Girls


Hutchinson 288pp £11.95 order from our bookshop

Some kind soul must have sent Kingsley a crate of milk of magnesia. Free of the rancid , dyspeptic tone that has corroded most of his recent work, Difficulties With Girls perks with so much curiosity and energy it might have been written in the year in which it's set, 1968. The characters coping with that uneasy moment in the world 's sexual history are Jenny and Patrick, from Amis's 1960 novel, Take a Girl Like You. In that book, Amis memorialised courting practices - above the waist and not under the clothes – that now seem as remote as the habits of the Medes or Persians. This time he turns his hand to modern marriage, which has changed a lot less in twenty years.

Having deprived a reluctant Jenny Bunn of her virginity when she was in sensibly drunk, Patrick Standish, we now learn, has married her on being told she has one in the oven. But Jenny miscarries and, seven years later, the Standishes are still without a child. They live in London

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

Follow Literary Review on Twitter