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Girl, 20 [PDF] ✑ Girl, 20 Author Kingsley Amis – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Kingsley Amis, along with being the funniest English writer of his generation was a great chronicler of the fads and absurdities of his age, and Girl, is a delightfully incisive dissection of the flo Kingsley Amis, along with being the funniest English writer of his generation was a great chronicler of the fads and absurdities of his age, and Girl,is a delightfully incisive dissection of the flower power phase of the s Amis s antihero, Sir Roy Vandervane, a conductor and composer who bears than a passing resemblance to Leonard Bernstein, is a pillar of the establishment whohas fallen hard for protest, bellbottoms, and the electric guitar And since vain Sir Vandervane is a great success, he is also free to pursue his greatest failing a taste for younger and younger women Highborn hippie Sylvia not, in fact, twenty is his latest infatuation and a threat to his whole family, from his drama queen wife, Kitty, to Penny, his long suffering daughterAll this is recounted by Douglas Yandell, a music critic with his own love problems, who finds that he too has a part in this story of botched artistry, bumbling celebrity, and scheming family, in a time that for all its high minded talk is as low and dishonest as any other.


10 thoughts on “Girl, 20

  1. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    Flower power packs a powerful topsy turvy punch on nearly everybody in the late 1960s, even a renowned 54 year old symphony orchestra conductor in London This is one Kingsley Amis novel I found to be highly engaging, entertaining and, such a pleasant surprise, actually funny and for a clear cut reason the novel is first person, the narrator, Douglas Yandell, a wishy washy 34 year old aesthetically attuned classical musician and music critic continually speaks words and makes observations sca Flower power packs a powerful topsy turvy punch on nearly everybody in the late 1960s, even a renowned 54 year old symphony orchestra conductor in London This is one Kingsley Amis novel I found to be highly engaging, entertaining and, such a pleasant surprise, actually funny and for a clear cut reason the novel is first person, the narrator, Douglas Yandell, a wishy washy 34 year old aesthetically attuned classical musician and music critic continually speaks words and makes observations scathing, ironic, biting and occasionally heartfelt And this in a time when the influence of 60s style hippie culture was at its peak, when youth and newness were valued for their own sake, buttoned down Douglas has much cultural material to be scornful and cutting about By way of example, Douglas listens to his friend, conductor violinist Sir Roy Vandervane many readers, including myself, can t help picturing Leonard Bernstein prattle in front of Sylvia, his new 20 year hippie lover I suppose the real division comes between those who want to have and those who want to be What the have ones want to have can be a lot of different things, not all of them bad in themselves, like political power or personal power it can be possessions, cars and washing machines and furniture and collections of china and things The people who want to be can be a lot of different things too, like artists and mystics and philosophers and revolutionaries, some sorts anyway, and just people who live and feel and see You ve got to make up your mind whether you re a have person or a be person Sir Roy is the central character and much of the novel revolves around his musical life and personal life, especially his personal life and influence on his wife and children Kingsley Amis is an excellent writer and all of the characters are sharply drawn and fully realized One aspect of character or lack of character particularly struck me on one level all these men and women are living a rather slovenly existence, not only continually, and I mean continually, plying themselves with liquor but also many scenes take place during meals mindlessly shoveling food into their mouths I wouldn t want to be too harsh here, but these Brits come off as a gaggle of slubberdegullions Performing and appreciating music is pivotal, most particularly for Sir Roy and the narrator At one point, Douglas finds Sir Roy s trendy, new age composition for violin, sitar, bass guitar and bongos entitled Elevations 9 positively appalling, entirely disrespectful and degrading to the great tradition of classical music By way of an interior monologue, Kingsley Amis lets us know the narrator s damning judgment also applies to the likes of John Cage Turns out, when Sir Roy performs Elevations 9 on violin with a rock group called Pigs Out, the music is, in fact, awful Although Elevations 9, a mixing of instruments right out of the 60s, receives a well deserved lampooning in this novel, I must disagree with Douglas and indirectly with the author sorry, Kingsley 20th century composers such as John Cage, Philip Glass and Morton Feldman with their innovative approaches are a tremendous development in the tradition of classical music Also, the movement that began in the 1960s combining Western classical instruments with other traditions such as classical Indian, alternative and jazz is a development both spectacular and musically profound On this last point I offer three amazing examples Yehudi Menuhin with Ravi Shankar Zakir Hussein with Charles Lloyd Ravi Shankar with Jean Pierre Rampal on the novel Each and every page is filled with many pinpoint zingers, social and cultural commentary you will not want to miss Highly recommended Zakir Hussain playing tabla with the Kronos String Quartet


  2. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    After a couple of Martin Amis novels recently one I liked, one not so much I thought I d give Amis Sr a shot, and what a wise decision it turned out to be Girl, 20 is one the finest comic novels I ve read in years Featuring some brilliantly sharp, at times laugh out loud dialogue, richly humorous set pieces, and an anti hero who really stuck in my mind after the closing pages Oh, and then there is Sylvia, who, though she didn t appear that often, still managed to dig her nails into me What After a couple of Martin Amis novels recently one I liked, one not so much I thought I d give Amis Sr a shot, and what a wise decision it turned out to be Girl, 20 is one the finest comic novels I ve read in years Featuring some brilliantly sharp, at times laugh out loud dialogue, richly humorous set pieces, and an anti hero who really stuck in my mind after the closing pages Oh, and then there is Sylvia, who, though she didn t appear that often, still managed to dig her nails into me What an ignorant, rude and obnoxious cow Set in a swanky London, Amis novel is narrated by Douglas Yandell, early thirties, and friend of conductor Sir Roy Vandervane, who is in his fifties, married with children, and has a thing for younger women, bordering now on the lines of them being barely out of girlhood Douglas, being the good old chap that he is, is carrying sympathy to all of the conflicting needs of those around him Roy s mid life crisis esque philandering, Roy s wife Kitty, who desires nothingthan a stable home life, and daughter Penny s disgust for her father Each of these people use Douglas for their own ends he gets nothing out of it, meanwhile Duggers as he is often referred to, has problems of his own One being that he shares his girlfriend Vivienne with another man, another being that he may even fancy Penny, who in turn is involved with a man herself Within a few pages there is line where Kitty remarks on Roy s past flings by saying they ve been running at about twenty to twenty six years of age over the last three years or so Tending to go down Getting younger at something like half the rate he gets older When he s seventy three they ll be ten In the case of Sylvia, Girl, 20 becomes Girl, 17 She is without doubt one of the most abhorrent female characters I ve ever come across, and yet, at times she almost had me in stitches There is one scene where Kitty, accompanied by Duggers, goes to have a word with her, which eventually results in a bit of catfight By this time Sylvia is stark naked, having already stripped off to flaunt her young body, when asked by Kitty what it is specifically that Roy sees in her.Sylvia s behavior is all shock and awe, and no one, especially Douglas, wants to be around her.He just wants what s best for his friend And it clearly isn t this kind of family destroying conduct.All the time, I had the feeling Roy really just wanted to around the youthful generation, to again feel young himself Never did I think he really had true affection for Sylvia, and he enthusiastically adopted some the most inane ideals through foolish desire just to feel fashionable andappealing to others It is through the character of Sir Roy that Girl, 20 becomes not only a comic satire of the 60s, but also a cautionary tale of irresponsibility and pretension.Although Douglas was an admirable character, it was Roy s daughter Penny who was truly likeable, thus the one I felt for the most, which was brought on heavily after we get a sobering ending when she announcing her desire to develop a heroin addiction and just fade away What went before it though, was great fun despite the fact there is the occasional racist remark, and it being a little too stereotypical of the era Had Nabokov been English, he could well have written this novel Yes, high praise indeed But I feel it worthy


  3. Tony Tony says:

    There is the English Language, and then there is the English Language as played with by Kingsley Amis, never on fuller display than here There was the usual British slang knackered, buggering, sodding. But some of it was new to me There was the Frenchman who couldn t read Girl, 20 in a small ad column without getting the horn or men who suddenly started flashing their hamptons There are a social diluent, an odium sharer, and a degenerate descendant of Charles II There s also a psephologis There is the English Language, and then there is the English Language as played with by Kingsley Amis, never on fuller display than here There was the usual British slang knackered, buggering, sodding. But some of it was new to me There was the Frenchman who couldn t read Girl, 20 in a small ad column without getting the horn or men who suddenly started flashing their hamptons There are a social diluent, an odium sharer, and a degenerate descendant of Charles II There s also a psephologist a man who knows about elections, we are told , but that s just another kind of showing off.I can not begin to tell you for how many years I did not know that arse creep was a verb.Sunglasses are blinkers I didn t know that either Nor did I know that when you see a pedestrian wearing blinkers on an overcast day, stopped at a crosswalk, you should grab him by the arm and steward him across the street What could go wrong As you can see from some of the above, there is a bit of discussion about sexual tangentsAnd a prick is a splendid thing, and a splendid ideaas well It strikes you The trouble is that in every case it s got a man on the end of it Which I m afraid puts paid to it as far as I m concerned Then there s flagellation I never even seriously considered that It strikes you, sure, but what s it got to do with anything You might as well play tennis or knit a pair of socks as a way of working up to a screw And the same goes for capers like necrophily and bestiality No point in even discussing any of them It would just be flogging a dead horse But, Amis needn t go all slangy Here At this opportune time, the couple on the couch, probably feeling that enough time had elapsed for them not to be thought to be leaving because they had been asked to leave, left.There are words there, but there is also meter Which is appropriate because this is a story about a world famous composer and the narrator, a music critic who can play Mozart without blushing I loved that Amis did not talk down to the reader, using, for example, Bruckner s 8th Symphony as a metaphor without explaining himself, or referencing John Cage when he wanted you to know there was quiet Our narrator, stalling for time, shaves his face at adagio sostenuto instead of his usual allegro con brio Only Weber s bassoon concerto sent me scurrying to YouTube.I hadn t thought of this, but things which are described as deafening, almost always aren t.It s time for me to put on some Haydn and listen to about eight hours of perfunctory periwiggery But first I wanted to tell you that this was a real joy, in a Kingsley Amis kind of way


  4. Bettie Bettie says:

    As you get older, you ll find that absolutely straight down the middle sex doesn t strike you in quite the way it did Sir Roy s pursuit of somethingstimulating wreaks havoc in his own and everyone else s life in this comic observation of the late 1960s Written by Tony Bilbow based on Kingsley Amis s novel Girl 20.Starring Robert Stephens as Sir Roy Vandervane, Christopher Timothy as Douglas Yandell, Eva Stuart as Lady Kitty, GeoffreAs you get older, you ll find that absolutely straight down the middle sex doesn t strike you in quite the way it did Sir Roy s pursuit of somethingstimulating wreaks havoc in his own and everyone else s life in this comic observation of the late 1960s Written by Tony Bilbow based on Kingsley Amis s novel Girl 20.Starring Robert Stephens as Sir Roy Vandervane, Christopher Timothy as Douglas Yandell, Eva Stuart as Lady Kitty, Geoffrey Whitehead as Meers, Kim Thomson as Penny, Anna Mazzotti as Sylvia and Okon Jones as Gilbert Pants it is pants, and Lolita complexes are somewhat pass


  5. John John says:

    A surprisingly good read After reading the authors Old Devils winner of a Man Booker prize I decided to try another book written by him Douglas Yandall is a critic writing about classical music for a newspaper He is also friends with Sir Roy Vandervane a famous composer conductor who is trying to be progressive in the liberal 60s He is going through a mid life crisis and has a 17 year old mistress who is a truly horrible human being with as much sensitivity and compassion as Pol Pot Douglas A surprisingly good read After reading the authors Old Devils winner of a Man Booker prize I decided to try another book written by him Douglas Yandall is a critic writing about classical music for a newspaper He is also friends with Sir Roy Vandervane a famous composer conductor who is trying to be progressive in the liberal 60s He is going through a mid life crisis and has a 17 year old mistress who is a truly horrible human being with as much sensitivity and compassion as Pol Pot Douglas his friend is a self observed person who will not commit to anything except his music His girlfriend Vivienne wants commitment and for him to take an interest in her Coupled with Douglas s lust for Sir Roy s daughter Penny who lives with Roy and his wife Kitty and their small son Ashley the child from hell The book is amusing with some funny lines You might as well play tennis or knit a pair of socks as a way of working up to a screw And the same goes for those other capers like necrophily and bestiality No point in even discussing any of them It would just be flogging a dead horse.A fun read if a bit of a grim and unsatisfying end


  6. Sam Schulman Sam Schulman says:

    One of the great moral novels of our parents time Amis proves himself here a successor to Jane Austen and Sophocles in his dramatization of the moral rules that are older than the gods and how they play out in contemporary, historically rooted life Nothing so dated as the Goodreads reviews here that criticize the datedness of the setting sooner rather than later, the BBC will be making a 3 hour costume drama adaptation, and later rather than sooner, some Peter Sellars of the future will be r One of the great moral novels of our parents time Amis proves himself here a successor to Jane Austen and Sophocles in his dramatization of the moral rules that are older than the gods and how they play out in contemporary, historically rooted life Nothing so dated as the Goodreads reviews here that criticize the datedness of the setting sooner rather than later, the BBC will be making a 3 hour costume drama adaptation, and later rather than sooner, some Peter Sellars of the future will be recasting it as an opera set in the Restoration age.Read it before you too are ploughed under the soil


  7. Omar Khan Omar Khan says:

    I read it because Hitchens in his memoir Hitch 22 wrote that this was the Kingsley Amis best work I concur.


  8. Nigel Nigel says:

    3.5 stars rounded upI have only read one book by Kingsley Amis before, the well known Lucky Jim This book is similar in style, a comedy set in London of the late 60 s In part a social commentary on the youth of the 60 s, we follow 2 main characters the narrator, a music critic in his mid 30 s who detests anything modern, especially music but not the sexual revolution which allows him to have an active sex life in his London bachelor pad , and his friend, a well known orchestra conductor 3.5 stars rounded upI have only read one book by Kingsley Amis before, the well known Lucky Jim This book is similar in style, a comedy set in London of the late 60 s In part a social commentary on the youth of the 60 s, we follow 2 main characters the narrator, a music critic in his mid 30 s who detests anything modern, especially music but not the sexual revolution which allows him to have an active sex life in his London bachelor pad , and his friend, a well known orchestra conductor and musician who is going through a mid life crisis and has run off with a teenager It is funny, although sensitive readers will likely be put off by its casual racism and misogyny More than just a comedy though, as the events of the book do turn the narrator s life upside down, causing him to question his whole outlook but without any neat resolution at the end Certainly part of Amis talent is to create well drawn and memorable characters, and although his books probably haven t aged well, I will still be readingof them


  9. Lazarus P Badpenny Esq Lazarus P Badpenny Esq says:

    Probably best placed in the category alongside excavated neolithic flint tools useful only for its historic insights but about as anachronistic as kipper ties, muttonchop whiskers, and getting turned over in police cells We should thank our lucky stars that the attitudes herein are largely confined to the past.


  10. Peter Peter says:

    This books invites accusations that it is dated The barbs at hippies the 70s right thinking left, etc., are certainly era specific And there is some casual racism and misogyny that rings off key today But while the details may have changed, the types remain accurate Where the trend followers in the early 70s may have been motivated by apartheid, anti establishment fomenters, pop music, youth culture, etc., today s analogues are energized by Gaza, life style businesses, pop music and youth cu This books invites accusations that it is dated The barbs at hippies the 70s right thinking left, etc., are certainly era specific And there is some casual racism and misogyny that rings off key today But while the details may have changed, the types remain accurate Where the trend followers in the early 70s may have been motivated by apartheid, anti establishment fomenters, pop music, youth culture, etc., today s analogues are energized by Gaza, life style businesses, pop music and youth culture The critique remains valid even if the decorations have changed.But this isthan an attack on easy targets It is the story of two men, one, yes, a trend chasing composer conductor in thrall with youth movements But the second is an aesthete critic, unwilling to champion any ideals except art This comedy is black both men are left exposed as somewhat empty, unable to defend their biases It s a heart breaking look at what is all too real for many of us.And Amis is accurate There is something disturbing about a society that treats idiotic pop music, made by 21 year olds, as serious art Why must it be both popular and elevated Can t popularity be an end in itself, not some proof of greater significance Can t we admit that the things we liked when we were 21 are moronic And there is also something disturbing about those of us who have elevated serious art above life


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