Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Green Man.

Just finished this and by Jove it was a good 'un. A saucy romp and an honest to goodness ghost story to boot. A story set deep in the English countryside where the wind stirs the restless branches and the eaves of the house echo with a spectral scratching and the creaking of bed springs. Really loved this book by Kingsley Amis. It smelt of autumn windfalls and apple cider downed beneath sturdy pub beams next to a crackling fire and if I am not mistaken that well might be Ma and Pa Larkin planning a late summer bloom romp on the way home if that randy smirk is anything to go by.
           The restless spirit of Underwood which stalks the green man is not a blithe one. It is an unsettling persona which has survived the corporeal death of its body yet still seems driven by the cruel passions that stoked its fire in life. It is not the only other worldly presence which inhabits the old homestead. There are other shapes glimpsed where none should be, footsteps where no foot fell and the woods seem to breathe and exhale in a palpable expression of crude being. There is a spiky very human horniness that permeates the novel that would bring a blush to the bark of old Tree-beard. a very British Oh-er vicar quality that seems of another age but this detracts in no way. Quite the contrary in point of fact as it endears the characters to the reader with a blushing familiarity of all things human and needy and impermanent. Some of the characters in the book are at the beginning of their lives, some are on the cusp of almost adulthood, some are adults struggling to break free of unresolved adolescent impulses while others face their own mortality and pass beyond. All are affected by the ghosts and spirits of The Green Man in different ways.
             As I suspect the readers will be depending upon what age they are when they come to read the book and find their sympathies and empathies perhaps at variance with the writers intentions. Or lack of them depending on how you interpret the mercurial morality of the central character. Especially when the characters desire for a threesome seems to exceed  his desire to lay to rest the spirits of the restless dead.