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Do people ever really grow up? The old devils in this book are just as they have always been, but trapped in a slowly aging body. It’s like living in a house that needs repair, but the repairman never comes.
When Alun Weaver and his wife, Rhiannon, a famous beauty in her day, move into a quiet retirement community, they find it peopled by friends from former days. Suddenly all the ambitions and energies, overgrown like weeds with years, burst out afresh. In Amis’ hands the results are predictably funny.
The year is 1976 and we are alive in an all-Catholic world. The Reformation never took place because Martin Luther made a deal with Rome and became Pope Martin I. The “alteration” proposed to Hubert Anvil, brilliant 10-year-old boy soprano, is that most feared by all males. Pope John XXIV wishes Hubert to preserve the purity of his voice to glorify the Church on a permanent basis; Hubert wishes to share his talent but he has some disquieting thoughts about Pope John’s proposal.
In this hilarious, outrageous and wickedly funny story of Jake and his lost libido, Kingsley Amis does not pull any punches, but takes some well-aimed swipes at the crankier fringes of psychotherapy and at sex—1970s style.
The title refers to how we spend our retirement years, often called “golden,” though in Kingsley Amis’ hands anything but.
At Tuppenny-Hapenny Cottage a clutch of oldsters, brought together more by ill fortune than blood or love, struggles with problems that range from penury to prostate. That’s the good news. The rest is Amis as usual, providing fun for himself and his readers at the expense of his characters.