The Green Man (Paperback)
Maurice Allington has reached middle age and is haunted by death. As he says, “I honestly can’t see why everybody who isn’t a child, everybody who’s theoretically old enough to have understood what death means, doesn’t spend all his time thinking about it. It’s a pretty arresting thought.” He also happens to own and run a country inn that is haunted. The Green Man opens as Maurice’s father drops dead (had he seen something in the room?) and continues as friends and family convene for the funeral.
Maurice’s problems are many and increasing: How to deal with his own declining health? How to reach out to a teenage daughter who watches TV all the time? How to get his best friend’s wife in the sack? How to find another drink? (And another.) And then there is always death.
The Green Man is a ghost story that hits a live nerve, a very black comedy with an uncannily happy ending: in other words, Kingsley Amis at his best.
About the Author
About the Editor:
Kingsley Amis is the author of 18 novels, including Lucky Jim and The Old Devils, which was awarded the 1986 Booker Prize, as well as numerous books of criticism and verse.
Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and longtime book columnist for the "Washington Post". He is the author of four collections of essays, "Readings", "Bound to Please", "Book by Book", and "Classics for Pleasure", as well as the memoir "An Open Book". A lifelong Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle fan, he was inducted into The Baker Street Irregulars in 2002.
''a thoroughly contemporary ghost story . . . A splendid chiller, in the uncomplicated, old-fashioned sense. As one might expect from the author of Lucky Jim, The Green Man is also an extremely funny book, filled with slapstick, parody and satire. Indeed, the success of this short novel depends very much on the balance that Amis maintains between fear and laughter.''
—Robert Kiely, The New York Times
“Contains all the best and familiar Amis qualities—including superb sexual comedy."
“Kingsley Amis is an important writer, and we cannot afford to lose him. It is no small thing to have written a good ghost story; to have written a ghost story that is also a major novel is nothing short of miraculous.” —Book World
“What makes The Green Man readable and re-readable is the skill with which Amis, like Henry James before him, turns the narrative screw. It is, quite simply, a rattling good ghost story.” —The Times (UK)
“In the drunken, lecherous, God-fearing Maurice Allingham, the drunken, lecherous, God-loathing Kingsley Amis created a character who makes sin and redemption far more real and natural than they appear in the works of most professedly Christian novelists.” —The Independent (UK)
“Ghosts, exorcisms, sexual crises: even though first published back in 1969, Kingsley Amis's story The Green Man is as up-to-date as any trendy movie of the week. But Mr. Amis, something of an Evelyn Waugh-manque for our times, is after more than a passing chill or two. His hero ponders, through a boozy haze, nothing less than the meaning, or meaninglessness, of life.” —The New York Times
“How rarely do we come across the really frightening ghost story now. Kingsley Amis's The Green Man was a rare and honourable exception, and Amis followed the classic pattern of earlier writers, letting the story progress carefully from a recognisable normality, through unease, to the rapid unfolding of horror that marks out the most successful and scarifying of all horror story writers.” —The Guardian
“[A] powerful and to my mind much under-estimated ghost story.” —Malcolm Bradbury
*The Green Man was chosen by David Pringle for inclusion in his volume Modern Fantasy: 100 Best Novels (Grafton Books), as well as for James Cawthorne & Michael Moorcock’s Fantasy: The 100 Best Books (Carroll & Graf), and in Kim Newman & Stephen Jones’s Horror: 100 Best Books (Carroll & Graf).