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Ending Up (1974)

Tekijä: Kingsley Amis

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
280794,306 (3.58)15
"Ending Up is a grotesque and memorable dance of death, full of bickering, bitching, backstabbing, drinking (of course), and idiocy of all sorts. It is a book about dying people and about a dying England, clinging to its memories of greatness as it succumbs to terminal decay. Everyone wants a comfortable place to die, and Kingsley Amis's characters have found it in Happeny Tuppeny Cottage, out in the country, where assorted septuagenarians have come together to see one another out the door of life. There's grotesque Adela, whose sole passion is her cheapness; her cursing and scoffing brother Brigadier Bernard Bastable, always strategizing a new retreat to the bathroom before sallying forth to play some especially nasty practical joke; Shorty, the servant, who years ago had a fling with the brigadier in the barracks and now organizes his daily rounds from woodpile to wardrobe around a trail of hidden bottles; George Zeyer, the distinguished professor of history, bedridden and helpless to articulate his still- coherent thoughts; and Marigold, who slowly but surely is forgetting it all. And now it is Christmas. Children and grandchildren are coming to visit their ailing elders. They don't know what lies in store before the story ends. None of us do"--… (lisätietoja)
Viimeisimmät tallentajatHildadeGaris, Lurk404, Thomarse, lukehoney, jkellner, JVermillion
PerintökirjastotNewton 'Bud' Flounders
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I’m astounded by how much I enjoyed this short little work.

Amis’ prose manages to steer the plot away from the obnoxiously mediocre trite found in those awful comedies good ol’ Bobby De Niro has decided to star in. You know the kind that bases its entire structure around old people acting badly, the kind where its presupposed that the audience will be shocked by the elderly acting puerile and all of the comedy is found by virtue of that alone. Of course this book is filled with such moments, but the emotional underbelly that is sustained throughout the work adds a wonderful balance that makes sure such antics do not become repetitive. The best thing is that this emotional underbelly isn’t the sickly sentimental variety, it only begins to rear its head as the book progresses and clarified some of the characters’ motivations. The book manages to achieve the heart and authenticity reminiscent of something like an episode of the Last of the Summer Wine, as well as possessing the dilapidated aesthetic of Withnail and I.

There are elements in the work that really separate it from other works that attempt to be comedic, there are some moments in the book that garner genuine and audible laughter (more than just a mere grin). I really think Amis was quite daring in some of the places he took the plot, but I won’t spoil that since the pure shock value really intensifies such moments. Such moments transcend the hijinks that these folks get up to, those that have read the work will know what I mean.

I could not recommend this work any higher, it achieves exactly what you would expect from such a work and manages to stretch out the limits of this seemingly innocuous and restrictive genre. I’m surprised it isn’t uttered in the same breath as Lucky Jim more often. In a similar fashion to that work, the book’s enjoyment certainly accelerates as it goes on and reaches its peak by the end. ( )
  theoaustin | May 19, 2023 |
A group of penniless old codgers pass their sunset years in a small cottage at the edge of town. As to be expected of the ol' Kingsley A, nary a sympathetic character in sight, and an ignonimous fate awaits all. Entertaining enough. ( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |



British author Kingsley Amis’ 1973 novel of two old women and three old men living out their last days in Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage nestled among the trees and fields in a delightful English countryside. Sound quaint and perhaps charming? It is anything but quaint and charming – for the most part these five septuagenarians – Adela, the one squarely in charge, her brother, former army officer, Bernard, Bernard’s past sexual partner, a servant nicknamed Shorty, Marigold, an oldster becoming progressively more senile and finally George, an emeritus history professor who has suffered a serious stroke – are at each others' throats.

But being well-mannered modern day Brits, their hostility seethes beneath an ironic, sarcastic, understated and occasionally humorous surface, especially Bernard, who is both the most malicious and the most interesting of the five, a stark fact that speaks volumes about the nature of fiction. Wisdom, anyone? Hardly in evidence at Tuppenny-hapenny. In support of this observation, here are several quotes from Greco-Roman Stoic philosopher, the emperor Marcus Aurelius, coupled with incidents from the book:

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
Over 200 pages with numerous references to listening to the wireless, taking time out to smoke, spending time planning one’s alcohol consumption and, of course, zeniths of zeniths, ultimate elixir to allay frustration and boredom, imbibing booze. However, must unfortunately, not one reference to the beauty of the natural world or the beauty of any of the arts or literature. Sure, somewhat begrudgingly, there’s singing a few songs together on Christmas day, but other than this thin musical gruel, plodding through life devoid of aesthetic experience.

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
Bernard gets his kicks and jollies from making life miserable for everyone else, not only Adela, Shorty, Marigold and George, but Marigold’s cat and George’s old dog. Damn those two for owning animals they actually have affection for and love tenderly! At one point Bernard soaks Marigold’s cat with his squirt-gun to frame Shorty and at another time sets off a stink bomb to frame George’s dog. Thus, in a way, we have a tale of caution. It is as if Kingsley Amis is asking readers of his novel to consider extracting a kind of Marcus Aurelius-style revenge by not turning out to be anything like Bernard.

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”
Turns out, the bedridden stroke-victim is the one who gracefully accepts his fate and expresses his gratitude for those gifts life does offer to him. We read George’s words of thanks for his newly restored ability to speak fluently, words he speaks whilst downstairs (he has to be carried from his bedroom) conversing with others in the parlor: “You’ve no idea how marvelous it feels. I don’t mind being half paralyzed now, except that it’s a nuisance to other people. The gift of language us a very precious thing.” And, almost predictably, George’s heartfelt sentiments are received with sarcasm by, you guessed it, our former military officer, ultimate black-bile stinker and enjoyer of others' misery - Bernard.

“You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say.”
This is secular 1972 England. Religion plays little or no part in the lives of these old people. Unfortunately, along with religion, the spiritual dimension is conspicuously absent, one of the tragedies of our modern world – the experience of the inner light, the eternal aspect of our human nature linking us with the cosmos is either a very minor cord or an entirely forgotten cord. And the alternative? Habitually asking that most modern of questions: When can I have my next drink?

The humor in Ending Up arises naturally from the characters and the action; nothing struck me as forced to produce a laugh. Similar to B. S. Johnson’s House Mother Normal, I highly recommend this Kingsley Amis novel since odds are we will all live to see old age and a little bit of knowledge of this subject via literature isn’t a bad thing.



( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Did not finish, took too long to get going. ( )
  Fliss88 | Oct 17, 2018 |


British author Kingsley Amis’ 1973 novel of two old women and three old men living out their last days in Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage nestled among the trees and fields in a delightful English countryside. Sound quaint and perhaps charming? It is anything but quaint and charming – for the most part these five septuagenarians – Adela, the one squarely in charge, her brother, former army officer, Bernard, Bernard’s past sexual partner, a servant nicknamed Shorty, Marigold, an oldster becoming progressively more senile and finally George, an emeritus history professor who has suffered a serious stroke – are at each others' throats.

But being well-mannered modern day Brits, their hostility seethes beneath an ironic, sarcastic, understated and occasionally humorous surface, especially Bernard, who is both the most malicious and the most interesting of the five, a stark fact that speaks volumes about the nature of fiction. Wisdom, anyone? Hardly in evidence at Tuppenny-hapenny. In support of this observation, here are several quotes from Greco-Roman Stoic philosopher, the emperor Marcus Aurelius, coupled with incidents from the book:

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
Over 200 pages with numerous references to listening to the wireless, taking time out to smoke, spending time planning one’s alcohol consumption and, of course, zeniths of zeniths, ultimate elixir to allay frustration and boredom, imbibing booze. However, must unfortunately, not one reference to the beauty of the natural world or the beauty of any of the arts or literature. Sure, somewhat begrudgingly, there’s singing a few songs together on Christmas day, but other than this thin musical gruel, plodding through life devoid of aesthetic experience.

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
Bernard gets his kicks and jollies from making life miserable for everyone else, not only Adela, Shorty, Marigold and George, but Marigold’s cat and George’s old dog. Damn those two for owning animals they actually have affection for and love tenderly! At one point Bernard soaks Marigold’s cat with his squirt-gun to frame Shorty and at another time sets off a stink bomb to frame George’s dog. Thus, in a way, we have a tale of caution. It is as if Kingsley Amis is asking readers of his novel to consider extracting a kind of Marcus Aurelius-style revenge by not turning out to be anything like Bernard.

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”
Turns out, the bedridden stroke-victim is the one who gracefully accepts his fate and expresses his gratitude for those gifts life does offer to him. We read George’s words of thanks for his newly restored ability to speak fluently, words he speaks whilst downstairs (he has to be carried from his bedroom) conversing with others in the parlor: “You’ve no idea how marvelous it feels. I don’t mind being half paralyzed now, except that it’s a nuisance to other people. The gift of language us a very precious thing.” And, almost predictably, George’s heartfelt sentiments are received with sarcasm by, you guessed it, our former military officer, ultimate black-bile stinker and relisher of others' misery - Bernard.

“You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say.”
This is secular 1972 England. Religion plays little or no part in the lives of these old people. Unfortunately, along with religion, the spiritual dimension is conspicuously absent, one of the tragedies of our modern world – the experience of the inner light, the eternal aspect of our human nature linking us with the cosmos is either a very minor cord or an entirely forgotten cord. And the alternative? Habitually asking that most modern of questions: When can I have my next drink?

Final note: this is my second Kingsley Amis novel. I read but did not enjoy his One Fat Englishman, finding any stabs at humor forced and artificial. In contradistinction, the humor in Ending Up arises naturally from the characters and the action; nothing struck me as forced to produce a laugh. Similar to B. S. Johnson’s House Mother Normal, I highly recommend this Kingsley Amis novel since odds are we will all live to see old age and a little bit of knowledge of this subject via literature isn’t a bad thing.
( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"Ending Up is a grotesque and memorable dance of death, full of bickering, bitching, backstabbing, drinking (of course), and idiocy of all sorts. It is a book about dying people and about a dying England, clinging to its memories of greatness as it succumbs to terminal decay. Everyone wants a comfortable place to die, and Kingsley Amis's characters have found it in Happeny Tuppeny Cottage, out in the country, where assorted septuagenarians have come together to see one another out the door of life. There's grotesque Adela, whose sole passion is her cheapness; her cursing and scoffing brother Brigadier Bernard Bastable, always strategizing a new retreat to the bathroom before sallying forth to play some especially nasty practical joke; Shorty, the servant, who years ago had a fling with the brigadier in the barracks and now organizes his daily rounds from woodpile to wardrobe around a trail of hidden bottles; George Zeyer, the distinguished professor of history, bedridden and helpless to articulate his still- coherent thoughts; and Marigold, who slowly but surely is forgetting it all. And now it is Christmas. Children and grandchildren are coming to visit their ailing elders. They don't know what lies in store before the story ends. None of us do"--

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