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.