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The Green Man Paperback – August 30, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Reprint edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897332202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897332200
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,540,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Aside from dextrously woven horror and the humor, the book has a fine character study of a self-indulgent man who is literally terrified into assuming his family obligations."

From the Publisher

7 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

It's a fun, quick read.
Like `The After-Death League' this is an exploration into metaphysical realms, but a much more satisfactory one.
A fabulous tale -- eerie and wickedly funny to boot.
Elizabeth Anne Cox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Laon on August 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
In the early 1970s Amis seemed to be looking for a new direction. His initial series of comedies (_Lucky Jim_ and its successors in broadly similar mode) had begun bringing in diminishing returns, at least in terms of critical attention and sales. And later, in the 1980s, Amis found a different kind of form with _The Old Devils_ and his last books.
But at more or less the mid-point in his career Amis experimented with a series of genre novels. Of this series _The Alteration_ was science fiction (an alternate-worlds story in which the Reformation never happened), _The Riverside Murders_ is more or less in the English murder mystery tradition (that is, there is more interest in the puzzle than in the US crime novel, but at its best the English whodunnit is also more likely to give us human characters rather than groteques). _The Green Man_ is the last and most successful of the series, and is in the horror genre.
As a horror story "The Green Man" offers only mild chills, but its other rewards are substantial. It's a portrait of Maurice Allingham, drinker, womaniser and host of The Green Man, an English hotel with a fine table, excellent wine list, and a couple of picturesque ghosts, though with no recent sightings.
Maurice is both cynical and observant, yet he misses much of what is important of what goes on around him. The things he misses include sinister stirrings around him that indicate that the supernatural elements around him have not been so much extinct as dormant, and are now reawakening. More importantly he fails to observe almost everything of importance about those who are closest to him, his long(ish) suffering wife, his lonely, resentful teenage daughter, and his son, who has already moved on from him.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By s.ferber on December 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
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 and the supernatural is as entertaining as can be. The tale concerns a middle-aged man named Maurice Allington, who owns an inn called The Green Man in rural Hertfordshire, not far from Cambridge. Allington, when we meet him, is being kept busy running his inn, struggling through a floundering second marriage, dealing with his sullen 13-year-old daughter, drinking incredible amounts of scotch every day, and attempting to talk his new mistress into a three-way with him and his wife. As if he doesn't have enough on his plate, the ghost of diabolical necromancer Dr. Thomas Underhill --who used to live in the inn some 300 years before--has been contacting him of late, and the legendary Green Man himself (a sort of lumbering tree monster) has begun to make appearances, too. Those closest to poor Maurice suspect that his stories of ghosts and tiny birds that fly through his hand are a result of the DT's (it really is remarkable how much liquor Maurice drinks in a day), but the reader somehow never doubts that what Maurice sees is objective reality... Mixing social satire, amusing incidents and some good eerie scenes, "The Green Man" does keep the reader enthralled.Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Schweitzer on October 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I saw a movie of "The Green Man" on A&E a few years back, and it didn't make any damn sense (save for the brilliant casting of Albert Finney as Maurice Allington), so I read the book. Wow! It was a treat.
Maurice isn't the sort of man I would like, nor do I suspect he would like me, but somehow he works well as a narrator. The story engages on several levels: you spend much time debating (especially after Allington sees "God") whether we aren't simply privy to the pitiful delusions of a pill and alcohol gulping man on his last legs rather than dealing with the understatedly fiendish Dr. Underhill and his monstrous creation.
Who knows, and who cares? Great read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on November 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Maurice Allington -- attractive, alcoholic, and fifty-three -- runs a small inn in the West Country, The Green Man, that is haunted by a most unquiet spirit: Dr Thomas Underhill, a seventeenth-century wizard with a reputation for killing his wife and other enemies by means of the black arts. Host and ghost would seem on the surface to have little in common, except Maurice has a dark side, an interest in sexual mischief and a tendency to use other people to get what he wants. When the heavy-drinking Maurice, who narrates the story, begins to see Dr Underhill and other ghosts about his inn himself, he cannot make his friends or family he is visited by anything other than the DTs; his siutation becomes desperate when he realizes the good dead doctor has a plan in store for him.

Thanks in part to a well-cast television adaptation with Albert Finney, Kingsley Amis's amusing little 1969 Gothic has oddly turned out to be one of the best-remembered of his novels (after LUCKY JIM, of course), even though it was mostly an experiment in genre. The ghost story is well done, and Maurice himself proves a very intelligent and convivial companion; still, the novel is less well executed than its elegant size and style might suggest (the scene with Maurice speaking with God seems a real mistake, and none of the other characters seems very well fleshed out). The thoughtfulness of the ghost story is still appreciated, especially since it came from an era when they were not so greatly in fashion. But you can't help wishing Amis had done a bit more with it--it seems (perhaps fittingly?) too insubstantial.
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