Review: The Old Devils – Kingsley Amis

I listened to this novel as an audio book, another one for the early commute. Unfortunately Amis’ novel about a group of old friends knocking back countless bottles of white wine and pints of beer made me feel slightly queasy on my pre-7am drives! This won the Booker in 1986, the year I was born so I was interested to see what literature at the time had in store for me. It felt like a lot of the book was setting the scene for the ‘action’ that happens towards the end. The cynical side of me see it as a book about people past their prime, in unloving relationships wishing they’d married someone else, moaning to a group of friends they don’t seem to like and drinking themselves into the grave… And that is basically what it’s about, but it also is about friendships and relationships that do last despite the changes in people since their friendships were forged in their youth. The book is about the day to day things in life, it’s not about anything unusual or exciting and I think that’s why it left me feeling slightly melancholic. 

This was my favourite quote in the book, the only one which I had one of those moments of thinking ‘you’re onto something there’…

“He had forgotten, if he had realised, how small a part people played in other people’s lives. And how little they knew about them even if they saw them every day.”

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