This vast and hugely entertaining collection is vintage Amis from a succession of good years. All of his best non-fiction pieces have been gathered together to reveal Kingsley Amis at his most typically robust and incisive: cutting a swathe through such subjects as writers and writing, 'Abroad', eating and drinking, music, language and education. Ridden hard and fast are such Amis hobby-horses as arts subsidies, literary prizes, and jazz; and among the writers discussed at length are Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell, Anthony Burgess and Ian Fleming, as well as Amis's beloved Philip Larkin. In these pages we can eat out at some of Amis's favourite (and unfavourite) restaurants, we can sample the Amis hangover cure, and we can wince at the horrible truth of Sod the Public: A Consumer's Guide.
Kingsley Amis was born in south London in 1922 and was educated at the City of London School and St John's College, Oxford. After the sucess of Lucky Jim in 1954, Kingsley Amis wrote over twenty novels, including The Alteration (1976), winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award; The Old Devils (1986), winner of the Booker Prize; and The Biographer's Moustache (1995), which was to be his last book. He wrote ephemerally on politics, education, language, films, television, restaurants and drink. Kingsley Amis was awarded the CBE in 1981 and received a Knighthood in 1990.