His latest book, Beet, is an academic satire.
For the Wall Street Journal, he tagged five "satires of academic life [which] deserve to sit at the head of the class."
Number One on his list:
Lucky JimRead about all five titles listed by Rosenblatt.
By Kingsley Amis
The nature of institutions usually dictates how to treat them in fiction; thus universities, like governments, are most accurately portrayed by ridicule. The best academic novels are also the funniest. And the funniest of these in my book -- and most everyone else's -- is Kingsley Amis's "Lucky Jim." The novel obliterates the more obvious targets of academic life -- the savage senior faculty, the dismal standards of intellectual success, the steady flow of cant, the casual conspiracies, the petty humiliations -- particularly those suffered by our hero, Jim Dixon, the inept and embittered history don at a provincial British college. "Lucky Jim" also touches on the darkest and unhappiest feature of the academy: Love cannot breathe there. (Jim's poor excuse for a girlfriend says things like "How close we seem tonight, James," and "All the barriers are down at last, aren't they?") One of the funnier, if quieter, jokes of the novel is that Jim has no recollection of how he wound up where he is -- a puzzle all too familiar to academicians. In a way, he presages England's Angry Young Men of the 1950s. But he's the most likable of the lot, and, stuck in a university, he suffers more.