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The Green Man

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,413 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
Like all good medieval coaching inns, the Green Man in Fareham, Hertfordshire, boasts a resident, if retired, ghost: Dr. Thomas Underhill, a notorious seventeenth-century practitioner of black arts and sexual deviancy, rumored to have killed his wife. The landlord, Maurice Allington, is the sole witness to the renaissance of the malign Underhill. Led by curiosity and an an ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1969)
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Jim Fonseca
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The range of good writing by Kingsley Amis (father of the living author, Martin) is amazing. He wrote poetry, short stories and novels that have been classified as travel, humor, alternate history, dystopian, science fiction and spy. His Lucky Jim is one of the funniest novels I have read.

The Green Man is horror, his Stephen King.


The main character runs an historic British wayside inn, The Green Man. He lives there with his second wife and pre-teen age daughter from his first marriage. His elde
Glenn Russell
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“I have no novelists, finding theirs a puny and piffling art, one that, even at its best, can render truthfully no more than a few minor parts of the total world it pretends to take as its field of reference.” So declares Mr. Maurice Allington while scanning the books of his personal library in the study of his rustic country inn, The Green Man. And what manner of narrator did Kingsley Amis create to tell his novel’s story?

Maurice is a fifty-three-year-old self-centered boozehound, an accompli
Vit Babenco
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The end of the sixties of the last century… What may that mean? It means the sexual revolution, an increased interest in occult subjects and mysticism and desire to change the state of mind with all sorts of psychotropic stuffs.
Kingsley Amis was the one who decided to pack all those signs of new epistemological era in a single rather thin novel, staying on the funny side of things.
“Anyway, Underhill, or rather his ghost, turned up quite a few times at a window in what’s now part of the dining-r
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is set in and around an inn between London and Cambridge called "The Green Man", owned by Maurice Allington, a 53-year-old man. The inn and its name date back to the 14th century. The inn is haunted by its 17th-century owner, Thomas Underhill, a Cambridge scholar who dabbled in the occult. Underhill was associated with two unsolved murders, including that of his wife.

Allington has some problems, one of which is a drinking problem that causes hallucinations. Allington tries to arrange a
David Brian
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maurice Allington is a fifty something, twice married, inn keeper/hotelier. For Maurice, life is a high speed, roller-coaster ride of juggling his various commitments - in this case 'commitment' equates to womanizing, drinking heavily, running his period inn The Green Man, and embellishing his establishment with tales of the resident ghost. On top of this he needs to find time to appease the boredom of his teenage daughter... oh, yes, and did I mention more whisky and women.

In case I haven't mad
aPriL does feral sometimes
I think this book is a perfect ghost story, with everything that is supposed to be there, there, per tradition.

Maurice Allington owns The Green Man, an Inn which has been in existence for 190 years on the same site near Fareham, 40 miles from London. The Inn was fully restored in 1961, but the best part of staying at the Inn is it has a genuine history of ghosts. He bought it because of the stories he was told about the ghosts appearing to guests. He himself is not a believer - yet.

I will let M
Edward Waverley
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it
This is the fifth book I’ve read by Kingsley Amis, and with each new foray I am increasingly convinced that I shall have to read them all. I love Amis’ personality so much that it does not seem to matter at all what he’s on about, so long as he’s on. Say anything you want about Amis’ private life, or his politics, but you cannot deny the unbridled hilarity of his comic portraits, nor the arsenal of his wit. His is the voice of the brilliant man stuck at a boring party, or under the supervision o ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As all sensible writers ought to be, Amis here appears to be terrified of death, and he knew that the comic novel is the ideal form to broach the subject without being pretentious or morose. In The Green Man he unexpectedly throws in a good ghost story too. Which adds to the charm and puts a new twist on the whole sardonic British realism thing that Kingsley is best known for. It's an interesting move, because he moves from genuine everyday Godless terror and self-disgust to schlock horror, thou ...more
Sarah N. Dipity
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
For whatever reason, Kingsley Amis and I seem to genuinely click. At least I think so based upon the level of enjoyment I got from this unusual little book. There is a genuine quality to his literary voice, which when combined with his certain sense of humour, very much reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut (who I love). I am a sucker for ghost stories, but this is a ghost story with many differences. The feel is entirely unique, as is the imagery. I can't wait to get my hands on more from this fantastic ...more
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1001 book readers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 list and caroley
Two men seperated by the thin but impermeable barrier known as time:
- Hello, who are you?
- I'm Kingley Amis, who are you?
- I'm Peter. I'm a writer.
- Really? Me too.
- Wow, what a coincidence.
- Yes, isn't life funny like that sometime? Fate must have brought us together for some reason.
- Perhaps. Sometimes events in the past and present align to make events and stories overlap. This means that sometimes people in the present witness echoes from the past, kind of like ghosts. Sometimes the echo ca
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Published by a classics edition and read very much like a classic. And no matter how much I try, classic horror just doesn't do it for me. Mind you, this is more of a contemporary classic, meaning unlike prudish M.R. James or long winded Algernon Blackwood, this actually has sex (quite a lot of it) and dialogue and some action, but it's still just so...unengaging, slow and stodgy. Maurice, the main protagonist, isn't an overwhelmingly likeable fellow. He neglects his teenage daughter and his sec ...more
Randolph Carter
Okay novel that loses something by being a bit dated and having a ghost story that lacks much suspense. The fact that we never really like the main character doesn't help.

I'm not sure if the things about threesomes, lesbianism, and adultery were still considered edgy in 1969, but they lack any excitement today except to the most prudish.

The entire thing just seemed somewhat tepid to me.
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kingsley Amis' sole horror novel, "The Green Man," had long been on my list of "must read" books, for the simple reason that it has been highly recommended by three sources that I trust. British critic David Pringle chose it for inclusion in his overview volume "Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels," as did Michael Moorcock in "Fantasy: The 100 Best Books" AND Brian Aldiss in "Horror: 100 Best Books." As it turns out, all of this praise is not misplaced, and Amis' 1969 novel of modern-day satire ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
This book is mental. It's a ghost story but not in the slightest bit scary. It's also a kind of weird folklorish and boozy story with extramarital affairs. It reminded me of wicker man in a way...
It's not really my kind of book, but there was something so odd about it that I was intrigued... lots of nice writing and a lot of whisky.
we are reading this for reading group- so shall report bacck.

Reading group gave it a 2.5 out of five on average.....
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amusing middle-aged man's lament on growing older, wrapped inside of a ghost story. (Or is it the other way around?) It was an interesting academic and philosophical exploration of mortality and life after death until a little more than halfway through the book. At that point, the ghost story picks up steam- and, though still philosophical- becomes more of a "physical" conflict with supernatural occult and pagan forces. Once I was beyond the halfway mark, I couldn't put it down. Amis ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of that style of particular British writing where the authors are hellbent on proper grammar and word usage. It's like a completely different language than the one I muddle about in. Martin Amis wrote in his memoir about heading up to his old man's house every Sunday and have the old bastard reading Martin's newspaper articles and telling how how he used the inferior, vulgar and utterly punishable newspaper meaning of a word, which has slowly taken over to become the word's only me ...more
Phillip Ramm
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know the feeling. Kingsley seems to be trying to resolve some (health) threat that has triggered fears of his impending death (26 years later) here. He has done this before, but within a ghost story, that is a different path altogether for Amis, and he pulls it off moderately well I must admit. A Stephen King best-seller it is not, and thank God Almighty for that.

Now dying is one thing, it must come to us all (and why we are not paralysed by this prospect is a mystery to Amis's character here
Peter Dunn
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK it’s a Kingsley Amis book so let’s see if the usual character check list applies:

• Central character drinks a bit too much – in this case a lot too much
• Central character is somewhat of a philanderer
• Central character is a self centered curmudgeon – OK certainly self centered this time
• Central character is at least a bit of an autobiographical version of the author

Yes ineed all those boxes are ticked, but what genre is Amis going to experiment with this time? As he does like experimenting
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parts of this reminded me of "Goodfellas". In goodfellas particularly right near the climax of the movie Henry is running around doing increasing amounts of coke and dealing with everything from cooking a nice dinner to getting a lucky hat to having sex with his mistress. Similarly here, with booze instead of coke, this man's world is falling apart and ghosts are appearing but just in the thick of it he will jump back to plotting about how to arrange a threesome with his wife and mistress.

Claire Fuller
Nope. Wordy and boring. The narrator is very dislikeable (womaniser, alcholic, hypochondriac) but that didn't put me off - the nasty people should be the most interesting. It was trying to be a ghost story and none of it was frightening at all. I've been trying to work out why and there were simply no surprises, no changes in pacing, no increase in atmosphere - the narrator ate his dinner and talked with a ghost and chased away a green man in the same style.

Spooky rating - .5 (simply for the fa
Not what I expected. I love his dry sense of humor and delicious inappropriateness. The main character is equal parts cad and hero, a feat only Amis could accomplish. Don't usually go in for the supernatural stuff, but it was funny. Didn't end for me quite as light as it started. Lucky Jim is still my favorite of his, possibly in my top ten. If you've liked others from Amis and you're up for something a tad bit raunchy, this could be the ticket.
Lots of detail on alcoholism and infidelity of the swinging-sixties variety, and a not-so-subtle parallel in character between the historical villain and the anti-hero protagonist. Amis defined his family of characters very well within their close environment. I think it was intended to be comedic, but I found the language a bit high-handed to be funny, and there was rather too much device packed into a short book.
Jun 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slipstream
At times a ghost story, at others a sex farce, and at yet others an occult mystery. Overall enjoyable, as long as you can resolve the fact that the protagonist is an arrogant alcoholic jerk. I also laughed out loud a few times, especially when the main character derided novelists; you know the character isn't a front for the author when that happens!
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of fun to be had with this one; a straight-out Gothic from the 80-proof pen of Mr Amis, who may himself have had too much fun here.

More at Konichiwa Witches.
Joseph Delaney
This was great. It has a supernatural element plus a hero with alcohol problems!
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird and funny and thought-provoking. Also short, so a perfect choice for the "too busy to read" person (not speaking of myself).
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
It is a great pity that Michael Dirda’s illuminating introduction to The Green Man is not included in the Vintage Amis digital edition. Here Dirda points out that Amis’s ghost story preceded the coming horror boom, with Rosemary’s Baby appearing in 1967, The Exorcist and The Other in 1971, Carrie in 1974 and Ghost Story in 1979.

It is highly unlikely that The Green Man preceded this horror renaissance, because it is a resounding failure as a horror novel. Its legacy lies more perhaps in stirring
Mar 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Shaffer
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know how you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover? Well, I do it all the time, especially this time. When I saw the Panther edition of The Green Man, published in 1971 by Granada Publishing Limited, with a time-worn, faded cover and pages gone brown and foxy, abandoned on a set of shelves labeled "Free Books," I immediately grabbed it. I grabbed it because of the cover illustration of the Green Man, bent and woven out of limbs and branches and looking surprisingly intimidating. (It's ...more
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Literary Horror: The Green Man Discussion Thread 28 29 Apr 12, 2015 12:20PM  
NYRB Classics: The Green Man, by Kingsley Amis 4 20 Jan 21, 2015 05:22PM  
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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
More about Kingsley Amis...

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“It's never pleasant to have one's unquestioning beliefs put in their historical context, as I know from experience, I can assure you.” 3 likes
“Nothing short of physical handicap has ever made anybody turn over a new leaf.” 2 likes
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