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By Kingsley Amis

ISBN-10: 0575008156

ISBN-13: 9780575008151

Brian Leonard, a Monty Python of mystery brokers, meets James Churchill, a tender officer, at an English military base the place arrangements are below manner for Operation Apollo. To complicate concerns, Churchill has long gone round-the-bend for a parole from the psychological ward.
Thrown among those unfastened cannons is a widowed good looks who practices "conspicuous polyandry," an unfocused psychiatrist, an unbelieving chaplain, and an enthralling alcoholic.
"Amis delights in combining espionage, violence, love and non secular skepticism. Such disparate parts, like dishpans and hearth earrings, problem his juggler's dexterity. Who wins? The reader!" (Publisher's resource)

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Example text

Nowhere in Kafka is this gulf greater than in The Man Who Disappeared, with its pantomime vividness and gusto. ’ It’s an almost parodically meticulous transcription of an action, very nearly as modest as Kingsley Amis’s ideal novel sentence, ‘He put out his cigarette and left the room,’ except for its quotient of joy and its deliberate slowness. A lot of The Man Who Disappeared consists of direct speech – and Kafka’s characters like to talk, in Seamus Heaney’s line, ‘like a book of manners in the wilderness’ – interspersed with descriptions of gesture.

One of the Kitchen maids told me she had seen him on his way here. ’ Thus Schubal. It was the clear speech of a man, and to judge by the change in the expressions of the listeners, it was as though they had heard human sounds for the first time in a long while. What they failed to realize was that even that fine speech was full of holes. Why was ‘dishonesty’ the first important word to occur to him? Perhaps the charges against him should have begun with that, rather than with national bias? A Kitchen maid had seen the stoker on his way to the office, and straightaway drawn the right conclusion?

In June, the first chapter, The Stoker, was published as ‘a fragment’ by Kurt Wolff, and there was some talk of putting it out in another volume, along with The Judgement and Metamorphosis, to be called perhaps Die Söhne (The Sons) – a suggestion of how Kafka expected to be read. When his copy of The Stoker arrived, Kafka read it aloud to his parents and noted: Exuberance, because I liked The Stoker so much. In the evening I read it to my parents, there is no better critic than myself, reading aloud to my most reluctantly listening father.

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Anti-death League by Kingsley Amis


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