The Green Man
Maurice Allington, dissipated, cultivated, paradoxically engaging, is the modern landlord of a medieval coaching inn, "The Green Man." As an old inn should, it has a persistent, long-quiescent ghosts: Dr. Thomas Underhill, a 17th-century practitioner of the black arts and a sexual deviant suspected of two hideous murders.
- Paperback | 176 pages
- 111 x 181mm | 102g
- 25 Feb 1988
- Penguin Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
''a thoroughly contemporary ghost story . . . A splendid chiller, in the uncomplicated, old-fashioned sense. As one might expect from the author of "Lucky Jim, The Green Man" is also an extremely funny book, filled with slapstick, parody and satire. Indeed, the success of this short novel depends very much on the balance that Amis maintains between fear and laughter.'' --Robert Kiely, "The New York Times" "Contains all the best and familiar Amis qualities--including superb sexual comedy." --"Sunday Times" "Kingsley Amis is an important writer, and we cannot afford to lose him. It is no small thing to have written a good ghost story; to have written a ghost story that is also a major novel is nothing short of miraculous." --"Book World" "What makes "The Green Man" readable and re-readable is the skill with which Amis, like Henry James before him, turns the narrative screw. It is, quite simply, a rattling good ghost story." --"The Times" (UK) "In the drunken, lecherous, God-fearing Maurice Allingham, the drunken, lecherous, God-loathing Kingsley Amis created a character who makes sin and redemption far more real and natural than they appear in the works of most professedly Christian novelists." "--The Independent" (UK) "Ghosts, exorcisms, sexual crises: even though first published back in 1969, Kingsley Amis's story "The Green Man" is as up-to-date as any trendy movie of the week. But Mr. Amis, something of an Evelyn Waugh-manque for our times, is after more than a passing chill or two. His hero ponders, through a boozy haze, nothing less than the meaning, or meaninglessness, of life." --"The New York Times" "How rarely do we come across the really frightening ghost story now. Kingsley Amis's "The Green Man" was a rare and honourable exception, and Amis followed the classic pattern of earlier writers, letting the story progress carefully from a recognisable normality, through unease, to the rapid unfolding
Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) was a popular and prolific British novelist, poet, and critic, widely regarded as one of the greatest satirical writers of the twentieth century. Born in suburban South London, the only child of a clerk in the office of the mustard-maker Colman's, he went to the City of London School on the Thames before winning an English scholarship to St. John's College, Oxford, where he began a lifelong friendship with fellow student Philip Larkin. Following service in the British Army's Royal Corps of Signals during World War II, he completed his degree and joined the faculty at the University College of Swansea in Wales. "Lucky Jim," his first novel, appeared in 1954 to great acclaim and won a Somerset Maugham Award. Amis spent a year as a visiting fellow in the creative writing department of Princeton University and in 1961 became a fellow at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, but resigned the position two years later, lamenting the incompatibility of writing and teaching ("I found myself fit for nothing much more exacting than playing the gramophone after three supervisions a day"). Ultimately he published twenty-four novels, including science fiction and a James Bond sequel; more than a dozen collections of poetry, short stories, and literary criticism; restaurant reviews and three books about drinking; political pamphlets and a memoir; and more. Amis received the Booker Prize for his novel "The Old Devils" in 1986 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990. He had three children, among them the novelist Martin Amis, with his first wife, Hilary Anne Bardwell, from whom he was divorced in 1965. After his second, eighteen-year marriage to the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard ended in 1983, he lived in a London house with his first wife and her third husband. Michael Dirda is a longtime book columnist for "The Washington Post" and the author, most recently, of "Classics for Pleasure" and the 2012 Edgar Award-winning "On Conan Doyle."