Although Kingsley Amis s acid satire of postwar British academic life has lost some of its bite in the four decades since it was published, it s still a rewarding read. And there s no denying how big an impact it had back then—Lucky Jim could be considered the first shot in the Oxbridge salvo that brought us Beyond the Fringe, That Was the Week That Was, and so much more.
In Lucky Jim, Amis introduces us to Jim Dixon, a junior lecturer at a British college who spends his days fending off the legions of malevolent twits that populate the school. His job is in constant danger, often for good reason. Lucky Jim hits the heights whenever Dixon tries to keep a preposterous situation from spinning out of control, which is every three pages or so. The final example of this—a lecture spewed by a hideously pickled Dixon—is a chapter s worth of comic nirvana. The book is not politically correct (Amis wasn t either), but take it for what it is, and you won t be disappointed.