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You Can't Do Both
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You Can't Do Both

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Robin Davies knows how to look after number one. Raised in a bland suburb of South London in the 1930s, Robin longs for the freedom to do what he wants. When he escapes to study in Oxford, he meets Nancy Bennett, a young woman even less worldly than himself. As Robin stumbles through his rites of passage to adulthood, involving rebellion, self-discovery, sex, war, seductio ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Vintage Classics (first published 1994)
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Jill
Nov 30, 2012 Jill rated it liked it
Recommended to Jill by: Kinga
Shelves: kinga-forced-me

First published in 1994 and written by well-known English novelist and poet, Kingsley Amis, the blurb on the book cover of the edition I read of You Can't Do Both says it is "strongly autobiographical". Given the little I read about Amis, I would tend to agree. Known for his drinking and affairs, Amis has seemingly poured himself into the hero, Robin Davies.

Apparently when asked by the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko if he was an atheist, Amis answered "It’s more that I hate Him." Robin espous
...more
Beth
I found this a bit of a tedious read because of the unsympathetic protagonist, Robin Davies, who grows up in the thirties in a London suburb.
It's a coming of age novel about someone who never really engages properly with anyone and always looks after himself.
2.5 stars
Tim
Feb 16, 2012 Tim rated it really liked it
I am not sure if this late Amis novel was ever published in America; I think it's one of his best, certainly one of his most affecting. And more autobiographical, nakedly, than anything else in his fictional oeuvre.
M.k. Yost
Jul 11, 2014 M.k. Yost rated it it was ok
Robin Davies is seriously an insufferable git. So hard to get through this one.
Natalee
I ended up giving up on this book. It is a good read from how far I got but it was taking me forever to get through and I found myself wishing it would just be over already. So I'm giving up but, feel free to let me know how the ending goes and how the story develops. I got to page 138. It took me about a month to get that far.
Emily
Mar 24, 2010 Emily rated it it was ok
Decided to read kingsley before getting onto martin... whole father and son thing. Which is what the book is about too. Scary insight into British middle class males and their frustratingly repressed behaviour.
Clara
Nov 09, 2007 Clara rated it really liked it
This novel combines a few of my favorite elements of communication: an autobiographical leaning, hill-air-ious prose, and male chauvinistic bantering that's ultimately trounced... sort of. Very satisfying!
Orchestre
Nov 19, 2016 Orchestre rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
People go on about old Kingers as if he was Donald Trump or Mussolini. But in this late work one of the characters, a lefty pacifist homosexual (who tries to seduce a 14 year old) gets quite a sympathetic portrayal.
Nathaniel
Dec 29, 2011 Nathaniel rated it really liked it
A story of a man that walks a fine line from his time as a child,to his time at Uni, both before and after the war, finishing with his life as a middle aged man. He is both a hero and an anti-hero.
Dan Honeywell
Dec 06, 2012 Dan Honeywell rated it really liked it
Amis at his most sentimental with funny bits here and there.
C. Kempe
Jul 14, 2010 C. Kempe rated it really liked it
A very unusual book from Amis: more true than his memoirs, it covers the early life of "Robin" and shows how he became the compulsive womaniser that we all have heard Amis to be.
Kelly
Jun 24, 2010 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
KA #20, if I'm not mistaken. A big thank you to K for getting me that much closer to completion of the catalog.
Haxby
May 07, 2013 Haxby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting character development. A very good read.
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Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE, was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than twenty novels, three collections of poetry, short stories, radio and television scripts, and books of social and literary criticism. He fathered the English novelist Martin Amis.

Kingsley Amis was born in Clapham, Wandsworth, Couty of London (now South London), England, the son of William Robert A
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