Monday, January 3, 2011

The Contenders (1958)

I picked this book up at a used bookstore because I'd heard John Wain's name before (he was an acquaintance of Kingsley Amis) and because I liked the Penguin paperback version that I found. Then I read it and it was a pretty good book, very well-written, essentially a satire about success. Two friends from school grow up to be successful in their own rights, one a businessman and one an artist. They try and one-up one another, and eventually a pretty girl gets in the mix. The pretty girl character is remarkably thin considering her importance in the structure of the love triangle. I know that Amis and Wain were competitors and not particularly fond of one another but Amis wrote better female characters than Wain, at least based on this one book, and that's not something you can say very often about Kingsley Amis.

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