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The Life of Kingsley Amis Hardcover – Import, 24 Apr 2007

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From Booklist

This is one big, fat, and fascinating biography of Kingsley Amis. The author of Lucky Jim and a host of similarly wicked and bright comic novels, Amis enjoyed a productive, flamboyant career as a novelist, poet, critic, teacher, and gadfly--a career that stretched from the 1940s to his death in 1995--at the same time pursuing a private life of serious sexual adventurism. Leader offers a candid, extraordinarily detailed look at both sides of Amis' life, fairly and fully assessing his subject's personal foibles while giving more-than-adequate attention to his considerable literary gifts and accomplishments. At more than 1,000 pages, the book will strike some readers as more information than anyone other than Amis' most passionate admirers will need, but even those who don't read every word will be riveted by the twists and turns of Amis' wild ride through life, and by Leader's deft way of connecting the life to the work. Trygve Thoreson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Praise from the United Kingdom:

“This is a book of true stature about a complex talent. Few literary biographies can match it for depth and intimacy.”
–The Sunday Times

“Outstanding . . . Leader has surpassed himself . . . He gives us not only the man, but also his milieu; he gives us not only the compelling virtues but also the staggering flaws. This is the best biography I have read for ages: deeply researched, crisply written and beautifully judged.” –The Daily Telegraph

“Elegantly organised, lovingly detailed and–how could it not be?–eruptively funny, Zachary Leader’s book is hard to put down.”
–New Statesman

“Marvellous . . . It has become a fashion to denounce long biographies as telling us more than we need to know, but Leader’s is a triumphant vindication of its nine-hundred-plus pages. It’s a pleasure to read, and the accumulation of detail gives a real sense of a life being led.”
–The Independent

“Marvellous . . . I ought to say that this book is two hundred pages too long, but as I enjoyed almost every word of it, I can’t.”
–The Spectator

“Very thorough and very straight-talking. It’s also very clear in its aims. [Leader] displays the facts of each matter plainly, allowing readers to deliver their own praise and blame, and counterbalances them with his attention to the work. It’s an impressively well-judged response.” –The Guardian

“Full, perceptive and admirably even-handed . . . Considered as a narrative of the growth and decay of character, Leader’s biography starts to assume the features of an Aristotelian tragedy.” –London Review of Books

“My admiration for Leader’s skill as a biographer is unalloyed. It’s a big book, but the interest never flags.”
–The Sunday Telegraph

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (24 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375424989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375424984
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.1 x 24.3 cm
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
S. J. Makielski
5.0 out of 5 starsBig But Good
14 July 2007 - Published on Amazon.com
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4.0 out of 5 starsExhaustive/exhausting biography of a great writer
31 May 2007 - Published on Amazon.com
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10 May 2012 - Published on Amazon.com
5.0 out of 5 starsComprehensive, excellently written.
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