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Eating People is Wrong

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  375 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Insanely funny depiction of members of the English department at a provincial English university.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1959)
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3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  375 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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May 27, 2014 rated it liked it
It’s odd that in the afterward to ‘Eating People Is Wrong’ Malcolm Bradbury seems annoyed about the book being perceived as from the same line as ‘Lucky Jim’. One would have thought that having written a modern novel in the 1950s, set in a provincial British university, you’d expect the critics to reach for ‘Lucky Jim’ as a point of reference. Indeed if the comparison was found to be favourable, then your publishers would be skipping with glee at the quotes they could whack onto the next edition ...more
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I randomly pulled this out of the Booksale rubble - that's how I fish for new titles and find awfully great, great authors - not to mention Andre Aciman, Jhumpa Lahiri and Jean Craighead George.

For 127 pesoses, I was transported to the academic world of rural England in the 1950s. The book's a satire so I somewhat expected it to be a light read, only to be taken aback by the language and the sangkatutak na intellectual refinery necessary (prolly an exaggeration). And it was interesting! This boo
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
My first impression that this was a bit of a museum piece being set in the late 1950's with its references to teddy boys and the new coffee bars. Within a short time however the description of the departmental dynamics and the striving for political correctness became all too familiar! I always blamed Tony Blair but it's apparent that the seeds were sown while he was still in nappies.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Treece [...] pursued literature intently, seeking to distil from it deeper and more searching explorations of the human fabric, and to preserve at all costs the purity and integrity of thought and art...." (p.227, Arena, 1986)

Treece is a humanist; but a bemused and isolated one, believing that the role of the university (in the '50s) is to inculcate and preserve a set of liberal moral values against the prevalent ethos of profiteering in the outside world (to which, gratefully, he does not belo
Definitely not all I had hoped. I'm not sure whether it was never a very successful book, or if it simply hasn't aged well, but either way, it didn't work for this reader. It wasn't so bad I wanted to throw it across the room, but I found the characters' central dilemmas -- in particular, a construction of tolerance and liberalism that hamstrings them and keeps them from both meaningful decision making and real relationships with others -- neither funny nor touching. And I think their dilemma ne ...more
Dec 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
'I'm tired of this bar. It's full of sociologists!'
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable. Dense, so I couldn't read at my usual pace. English college in the 50's. Not a very good ending, which is explained by the author in the afterword written in the 80's. I'm glad to get the insight the afterword provided. How liberalism leads to inaction. Some of the conversations are really true about society yet today.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
A brilliant and frequently hilarious satire on academic life and the difficulties of being a liberal professor in 1950s England, Eating People is Wrong takes aim at the staff and students of a provincial university in a way that is biting, insightful and yet affectionate and poignant. No mean feat, that.
The title of this book is great.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Not really still sure how the title honestly fit the story...
Andrew Sare
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Watch out - She's a man eater!

Too much of this book was taken up by an awkward cringe-worthy love triangle/square/pentagon - whatever it doesn't matter. Despite that, Bradbury includes some fantastic reflection about literature, cultural elitism, artists, poets and the willfully numb masses. Unfortunately this is crystallized in only 30 of the 260 or so pages, the rest consisting of the uncompressed rotting vegetable matter.

One of my favorite reflections is made by a snooty writer visiting the p
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better was to come

I've previously read "Rates of Exchange" and "The History Man" (though too long ago to properly review) and enjoyed both of them. I enjoyed this too, although was left feeling that more could have been made of it. Written in 1959 it quite reasonably sits within the deep-seated attitudes and beliefs about race and sex that prevailed then, and needs to be read with this in mind.

I would have liked to hear more about the hapless African student, Mr Eborebelosa, a character both fun
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I've previously read "Rates of Exchange" and "The History Man" (though too long ago to properly review) and enjoyed both of them. I enjoyed this too, although was left feeling that more could have been made of it. Written in 1959 it quite reasonably sits within the deep-seated attitudes and beliefs about race and sex that prevailed then, and needs to be read with this in mind.

I would have liked to hear more about the hapless African student, Mr Eborebelosa, a character both funny and tragic, but
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Slow start, slow end. Story seems to go nowhere. Either way, the personages are to me quit regogniceable, professor Treece with his loneliness and student Bates with his foolishness, I would rather call him clumsy).
The form is quit parabolic: it starts with a lonely professor who discovers his feelings for one of his older students. A romance starts, ends and Treece is lonely again. The one thing this novel showed is that you should not be to honest in an relationship, since it will break the r
Jacob Lehman
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I found Treece's navel-gazing self-analysis at the expense of engaging with the world is poignant. An interesting author to be sure. For a 26-year-old author, it's pretty impressive, but overall I found it more macabre and less funny than I'd hoped.
This was a difficult read for me. No easy connection to the story or the characters or even the location. But it is a story of fitting in, love, and what one believes to be love. If you can read old British stories this is for you. Although a good book, I think I will stick with others....
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: big-white-square
In the 1950s this was an achingly hip novel about the achingly hip “angry young men” (as if writing “Lucky Jim” is the angriest thing a young man can do). But I'm not sure you need to read it today. The story is a bit dull, and I found the Louis Bates character unbelievable.

As Mrs Bishop put it:
"...nowadays all the novels you seem to get are about what's wrong with other novels. It's a vicious circle."


"It's lucky we're all sophisticated ... or we shouldn't like it a bit."

"'Why doesn't everyone
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it

People rightly liken this to Lucky Jim due to it being a provincial campus novel of some humour. As it starts this is a very apt comparison and the wry amusement comes thick and fast. However, the novel acquires some serious pretensions as it goes on and, as the humour becomes more tangential, so does the enjoyability of the read.

Slipping into biography, the novel's ending is somewhat contrived and blunt, with what comes beforehand rather overdone and overlong. Apparantly, the publisher excised
Erik M
Sep 24, 2015 rated it liked it
A different sort of book. Probably 3.5 stars. It has some first novel problems, but there's some winning humor and wit at play. I enjoyed much of it, but it was hard to build up much steam. The vignettes didn't always tie together, but on their own were winning. I'll certainly check out his later novels.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read too many books about quirky english professors. It amused me from time to time but I feel like I've read the book ten times already. Granted, this is much older than those others, as for some reason it's become a fad more recently than in the early 60's when this book was released (from my understanding).
Chris Sienko
Dec 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own, to-re-read
I'm not sure if this book is great, great-for-its-time, or what, but I can say with certainty that this book got me through a VERY bad night, so my emotions for this book are tied to a very specific moment in my life. Might be worth a re-read.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
A campus novel written by a very young Malcolm Bradbury. Funny at first, but becomes tiresome after a while. One of those books you can put down without being too bothered about whether or not you pick it up again.
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: uptight english majors, street performers
This book is a comedy of manners, which means I should hate it on principle, but I don't. I really love how fucked up and inappropriate the damn thing is. It was the kind of un-pc thing that could be written way back before our chairs had so much goddamn padding (as E-Lo would say.)
Feb 22, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: abandoned
This is my second attempt at reading this. It sure is starting slow. It may become one of those rare books on my list which come to an untimely end (translation: I resist the compulsion to finish the damn thing, make it into a folded doorstop, and move on to something more interesting).
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My favourite Bradbury - a great read and the daddy of the campus novel
Jan 04, 2009 added it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Not nearly as funny or interesting as described.
Ian Callaway
Very much of it's time but nonetheless an entertaining read.
Danica Nedelkovski
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marco Ocram
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Substitute 'mildly' for 'insanely' in the phrase 'Insanely funny'.
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Sir Malcolm Stanley Bradbury CBE was an English author and academic. He is best known to a wider public as a novelist. Although he is often compared with David Lodge, his friend and a contemporary as a British exponent of the campus novel genre, Bradbury's books are consistently darker in mood and less playful both in style and language. His best known novel The History Man, published in 1975, is ...more
“With sociology one can do anything and call it work.” 17 likes
“Well, it's really no use our talking in the way we have been doing if the words we use mean something different to each of us...and nothing.” 11 likes
More quotes…