Paul Donovan
Paul Donovan asked:

Why do people like this book? I'm only up to chapter 5, but the main character is a real prat. He is crude and self-obsessed. How are we supposed to empathise with his plight or hope he will succeed when he is so unlikeable?

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Brendan Basically for all the same reasons you're complaining about. I bet you don't like "A Confederacy of Dunces," either.

I feel a little sorry for readers who are preoccupied with "likability" in fictional characters. In this case, though, I can't imagine what kind of monstrous puritan could possess a heart so stony as to dislike Jim Dixon. Of course he's crude and self-obsessed, not to mention a drunk of impressive stamina. He's also a class hero at war with bourgeois pretension. He's the nerd who gets the girl in the end.
Alex Counterpoint to Brendan's answer: I don't know. It's yet another book about some white guy at a university who does whatever. Save me from more clever books about white guys.
K Hey - I am a woman from a country that was colonised by the British - if I can overlook his self indulgence, you surely can! This is very fine, funny writing!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) There are different types of comedy; some of the most popular in Britain at the time this was published were: visual (the slapstick bits, which we "see" in our heads when reading), the unexpected, recognition (we laugh because either "Oh yeah, I've done that so many times!" or we know someone who does and can relate to the other characters' frustration...and then there's the kind that says to the reader/viewer "Look how idiotic this person is being." My least favourite kind, but given the popularity of Mr Bean et al, there must be a market for it.
Jack What I enjoy about the book is the way it captures the frustration of life's petty annoyances so well. As someone who through, essentially good luck, enjoys a fairly straightforward, enjoyable life, I enjoy the absurdity of Jim Dixon's anger. Amis's prose style is also enjoyable in itself I think.
Robert Because, he's an idiot.
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