Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finally Free of the Green Man: Candle #7

After what seems like centuries, I have finally finished the latest of my Birth Year Reading Challenge books: The Green Man by Kingsley Amis. Just like Maurice, the main character, I have finally exorcised The Green Man from my TBR list. As I mentioned in a previous post, I hated this book--with a passion. Not only because it took forever to finish, but also because it is one of Amis's all-time weakest offerings. The expected humor....never came. I'm not sure if he was trying to do a straight ghost-story/gothic feel or what; but the effort definitely falls flat. Maurice is a self-absorbed, boozing womanizer who just happens to also be a hypochondriac. Then he starts seeing ghosts...and a strange tree-man creature. After enduring a night of terror in addition to a relationship crisis that results in his wife leaving him, you think he's going to turn over a new leaf. He begins to re-connect with his daughter and you say to yourself "Ah, he's going to be redeemed in the end. At least there's a point to all this." That's before one of his last musings in which he dwells on all the things he's now going to have to deal with: "...I must telephone the insurance company about the Volkswagen, and see the solicitor about my father's will, and fetch the meat, and bank the takings, and make new arrangements about fruit and vegetables, and prepare for another week after that. And Joyce, and selling the house, and looking for another, and finding somebody to go to bed with [emphasis mine]." After all he's been through and supposedly learned....he's still focused on his next conquest. Give me a break. One star out five--and I only give it that because I found one quote that I wanted to add to my collection and for the conversation with "god" in the last chapters. Definitely the best part of the book.


....Petty Witter said...

Oh dear, I suppose we can't enjoy every book we read but it is kind of sad when we hate a book with such passion.

J.G. said...

Hmmm, sounds like this update of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" did not do it justice, and my experience with Amis has not been good in the past. I might have to read this one anyway (I have a Green Man fetish), but will approach with caution.

At least you have another candle to show for it! :-)

Rose City Reader said...

I didn't mind this one, although it is definitely not my favorite Amis. I was entertained through the book and then baffled by the ending. The tree man was just too weird for me.