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``The Old Devils'' are aged drinking partners whose number is enlarged and enlivened when poet Alun Weaver and his wife Rhiannon return to Wales. Alun is a letch, a ``frightful shit'' in the words of one acquaintance, and Rhiannon still a beauty. Like pebbles dropped into a still pond, the Weavers set off a series of emotional waves that are still breaking at novel's end. Along the way Amis has characteristic fun with sex, drink, and fakery yet displays a largess of spirit lacking in his other geriatric comedy, Ending Up (1974). At least one happy ending is awarded here, to a character who had written off maturity as ``an interval between two bouts of vomiting.'' This winner of Britain's Booker Prize is caustic, verbally dextrousand highly recommended. Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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A wicked yet not unaffectionate look at the way old age-and belated international celebrity-transforms a social set whose friendships were established in earlier, more optimistic times. (D 1 86 Upfront)