When last I saw the characters Patrick Standish and Jenny Bunn, they were just starting their relationship in Kingsley Amis’s Take a Girl Like You.
Now, years later, they are stilled married, but childless due to Jenny’s miscarriage. They’ve moved to a maisonette at 1 Lower Ground in London. Jenny is still the same sweetheart; and Patrick, the same opportunistic whoreson. Jenny knows this and sorrowfully reproves his husband for his erring ways. Being in the book publishing business, Patrick goes to an inordinate number of parties where opportunities for excessive drinking and sexual provender abound.
Many of his problems are no farther than a few feet from his front door. His new neighbor Tim Valentine is a clueless young man who is mildly confused about his own sexuality and seems to pop in at least once a day. Next door are Eric and Stevie, a gay couple who are incessantly fighting each other. Also nearby is Wendy Porter-King, with whom Patrick has a brief but intense fling.
I have always enjoyed Amis’s novels, even when they are not the best. I preferred Take a Girl Like You, but Difficulties with Girls is not at all bad. By now I have read almost half of his novels and will probably read more in the coming year.
I finished reading the book at the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax, where I was able to read uninterrupted and break for a tasty lunch. It looks as if I head to the Market around once a week. No matter how hot it may be outside, it always seems cooler in the covered shade over the tables here.