Amo, Amas, Amis

MEMOIRS by Kingsley Amis

Summit; 346 pages; $25

Reading this collection of essays and sketches is a bit like listening to a bristly British clubman, over whiskey-and-sodas, who has been cursed with total recall. Kingsley Amis was the archetypal Angry Young Man, as well as a very funny one, when he wrote Lucky Jim back in 1954. Amis can still be funny, when in the mood, but he is also still out of sorts: Memoirs seems to have been compiled as much to settle old scores as to relive the past.

Encyclopedic is the list of people and objects that have...

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