The voice is not the high-octane, clever, boyish excess of his early ‘testosterone novels’; it has matured, his ‘compulsive vividness of style’ has relaxed into an easy-going wisdom. There is still the high laugh-per-page ratio. There is still the finger-clicking rhythm. Still the mode is tragicomic. But there is something different, something significantly different about the author of The Pregnant Widow from that of the lunatic Yellow Dog.
It’s often difficult to see how Levy equates such disparate strands of behaviour: what brings such targets together for Levy doesn’t always read like concern that women have become ‘female chauvinist pigs’ so much as a deep-seated dislike of promiscuity, hedonism and sexual permissiveness.
Speaking in Manchester, Amis likened the relationship between reader and author to that of lovers, and so to expand on the analogy, if Amis were to be our lover: he would be lush, indulgent, too demanding of our attention in his stripling desire to delight.