Lucky Jim, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain.

When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood.

All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling. Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim was published in 1954, and is a hilarious satire of British university life.

Jim Dixon is bored by his job as a medieval history lecturer.

His days are only improved by pulling faces behind the backs of his superiors as he tries desperately to survive provincial bourgeois society, an unbearable 'girlfriend' and petty humiliation at the hands of Professor Welch. Lucky Jim is one of the most famous and influential of all British post-War novels.


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

A humorous rather than laugh out loud read with some good sections but some that drag and irritate. It waxes and wanes as an engaging read on academia and was not as good as I was hoping based on previous reviews and essays so I was slightly disappointed by it overall. However some observations still seem to ring true today !

Review by

Kingsley Amis' seminal novel Lucky Jim is often described as a landmark novel revolutionizing the British novel. While the style and approach of the novel may have been groundbreaking in the early 1950s, to modern-day readers none of this appeal shows, and the novel reads rather more like a weak story compared with more contemporary prose.In my reading, I could not detects any of the humour that Lucky Jim is praised for. It is obvious, and can be imagined as influential, that the main character leads a rather banal life. The story is not interesting in any particular way (which is supposedly its strength, in historical perspective).Lucky Jim was reissued in the Penguin Decades series as a novel representative for the 1950s in 2010, while in the US an edition appeared in the NYBR series, in 2012.Canonized or not, Lucky Jim seems destined to lose its appeal to modern readers, probably quite soon.

Review by

Kingsley Amis and Martin Amis (father and son) are two major writers of the 20th century, yet more names on the list that I need to tick off, and Lucky Jim is Kingsley’s most famous novel. It’s a comedy of manners revolving around a young university lecturer who is shambling his way through life in a manner reminiscent of George Costanza – silently loathing those around him, perpetually analysing the motives and opinions of everyone he interacts with, and getting involved in ridiculous social traps.It’s a 60-year-old novel, but I still found it quite amusing, full of clever turns of phrase and witty dialogue. My favourite moment comes when Jim is speaking to Bertrand, an artist he hates, and entertains the notion of “devoting the next ten years to working his way to a position as art critic on purpose to review Bertrand’s work unfavourably.” The book suffers when it moves out of comedic territory and wander towards serious romance, which it does quite a bit of in the second half. I didn’t find it a struggle to read, but it was certainly slow to grab my attention, and I suspect it’s the kind of mid-century novel that will fade from my memory.

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