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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar comic novel
Writing doesn't get any funnier than this. Readers who find deep vein humour in black, sexual comedy such as Portnoy's Complaint and (even blacker), Lolita, will revel in Money. The unreliable narrator, John Self is a brilliantly drawn character. Physically and emotionally repulsive, materialistic, a string of unwholesome vices - drugs, porn, fast food, dirty women and...
Published on October 11, 2006 by Sirin

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Money
I have rather mixed feeling about this novel. I was expecting to read a critique of modern society and the role money has in it. My expectations were met, but only at a shallow level. It left me unsatisfied and longing for more.

Money features John Self, a former successful ad man, who enters the movie business and is in the process of shooting his first film...
Published 13 months ago by Erez Davidi


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar comic novel, October 11, 2006
By 
Sirin (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
Writing doesn't get any funnier than this. Readers who find deep vein humour in black, sexual comedy such as Portnoy's Complaint and (even blacker), Lolita, will revel in Money. The unreliable narrator, John Self is a brilliantly drawn character. Physically and emotionally repulsive, materialistic, a string of unwholesome vices - drugs, porn, fast food, dirty women and most of all money, and a stunning voice which is at one yobbish yet shamefully poetic.

In fact, Martin Amis has declared this to be a voice novel. When form goes out the window and the voice takes over. Like Saul Bellow finding his broad, socially and intellectually panoramic style in The Adventures of Augie March, Amis finds the voice to skewer the absurditites of Western Urban Capitalism, and the disorientated place of the modern male within the system. Money contains so many of the classic Amis riffs and set pieces - the tennis match, the dinner party, the brothel visits, the porn shows - as John Self is put through one humiliation after another in his pursuit of Mammon. The comic detail is stunning. There are so many exquisite phrases. Amis learns from another of his major literary heroes, Nabokov, and distorts the aesthetic, baroque high style into a low life screamer of a book. Marvellous.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I have money but I can't control it.", June 30, 2004
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
Money. It makes the world go 'round, and that's the problem. It seems the Earth's spinning on its axis has less to do with physics and more to do with those who don't have money chasing those who have it. And novelist/satirist Martin Amis cashes in on the corrupting influence of currency with his delightfully savage book, MONEY.
Director John Self is a self-admitted loser. There's not much to like about him: he smokes too much, drinks too much--he's an irresponsible buffoon with an addiction to porn and prostitutes. But he's got money, and as he waits for the financing of his next film to come together, he makes London and New York his sinful playgrounds. Leapfrogging back and forth across the pond, he leaves a shambled trail of self-destruction in his wake. Over the course of his bizarre journey, John shares his thoughts and philosophy on the intricacies of life: Life according to John Self, a drunken bugger with money. In fact, the story happily plays a second fiddle to John's reflections, and John's reflections carry the story from one zany mishap to the next.
Amis is sheer genius. He writes with a demented pomposity--a politically incorrect finger-in-your-eye--that has the reader laughing one moment, cringing the next. With a clever tongue-in-cheek device to show nothing is sacred, he even inserts himself into the story. It's fascinating reading, as Amis allows his protagonist's thoughts to wander all over the dysfunctional map of human corruption (often within the same paragraph). MONEY is a triumphant satire that blasts away at our consumer culture and reveals our fragile human foibles. It is the type of book I wish I had the backbone to write.
--D. Mikels, Author, WALK-ON
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely the best, September 12, 1999
By 
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
This is one of the most well-written and funny books you'll ever read. My copy has multiple dog ears because I keep going back to look up this or that hilarious passage: Lorne Guyland's rambling dissertations, John Self's drunken careen through a NY restaurant, the chess game near the end (an amazing metaphor-packed *action* scene that you'll read wide-eyed at the fact that anyone could write with such style). Some readers don't seem to understand that you're supposed to despise John Self while still marveling at his antics. I feel bad for those people; I feel pity for those people--oh yes. But for those who like densely written, wildly stylish fiction that also has a point, from a writer at the top of his game, you *must* read this book!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's Amis..., December 16, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
Once an Amis fan, always an Amis fan. Money is quite possibly one of the best novels I've ever read, nevermind that it's an Amis novel. He opens up existential angst in the broadest, most heartbreaking and accessible way, that it makes movies seem just plain irrelevant.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Big Bim!, December 21, 2003
By 
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
This book contains one of the finest first-person narratives ever written. Coarse and chummy, fretful and alcoholic, the narrator is a Studebaker-sized beast of a man who skates to his ruin on too much booze, bad credit and pornography. Reading this book is like watching a rampaging circus elephant get shot in mid-city traffic, sink slowly to its knees and die.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quirky fun, October 11, 2006
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
Martin Amis's Money is a stumbling, swirling, sodden romp though the protagonist's brain. As anti-hero John Self bounces back and forth between London and New York, pursuing a questionable movie deal, he spins the hilarious tale of his drunken, pornographic life.

Comparison's to Kinglsey Amis's Lucky Jim are inevitable, as both are comic novels dealing with sad-sack, affable drunks. Where Lucky Jim is charming, with likable characters and a coherent plot, Money is chaotic, with abrasive characters and a shaggy, almost stream-of-conscience plot line. Money is also a little longer than it needs to be (it gets repetitive) and uses a few post-modern tricks that are too cheeky for my taste (Martin Amis is a character, for example). But what makes Money worth reading is that it is funny. Sometimes it is laugh-out-loud funny. That, and the feeling that John Self isn't quite the ogre he makes himself out to be, keeps the pages turning.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest thing he' ever written, March 13, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
This is the Martin Amis to read if you're just reading one. I've probably read the darn thing seven times over the years, and will read it again. Whole scenes and chunks of dialog have lodged in my memory. Take any random paragraph from the book, and it jumps around like it's been hooked into a wall socket. It's astonishing to see this level of prose energy sustained over an entire book. I really think that, one way or another, writing this took something out of Amis that hasn't yet come back.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Money- the new face of the British novel, June 28, 2007
By 
Clark Gable (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
Martin Amis's Money flies in the face of the nostalgic critic who would say that the best of British fiction is in the past. This meta-fictional post modern styled novel not only subverts conventional novel structures but is also able at the same time to present social messages which were relevant to its initial 1980's audience and can still find relevance in the society of readers today.

Broadly, Amis's novel satirizes the boom of consumerism and excess experienced in the 1980's. The central protagonist would-be-film maker John Self, rolls between London and New York, binging on cigarettes, alcohol, pornography, women, drugs and anything else that money can buy. John Self's complete lack of self control or restraint can be seen as reflective of the political policies of Thatcher (and to an extent Regan) which were being implemented in England and America at this time, policies which assigned a fiscal value to everything and turned virtually anything into a saleable commodity, promoting capitalist values en masse with very little attention to the development of accompanying policies of social responsibility.

Without revealing too much of the plot, Self eventually reaps the consequences of his lifestyle however it is not a social or moral lesson, Self does not develop, grow or undergo any kind of mental or emotional transformation, in moral essentials he leaves the novel, much as he entered it. This lack of moral justice inflicted upon Self is arguably one of the major centres of dislike pitted against this novel. Amis does not provide a social or (using the words of his father, realist author Kinglsey Amis) "human lesson." It presents the seamy, grimy underside of the epicentres of western (and capitalist) society but presents no exoneration or punishment for John Self or the societies which he populates. The frustration of the reader in not seeing the protagonist regretful or even adequately reflective of his lifestyle seems to deny a perceived need of the novel to distribute and/or advocate for some kind of social justice or responsibility.

Some critics (and even authors) of contemporary British literature suffer the belief that the 'hey-day' of English literature is passed, that nothing written in the present can possibly match that which was written in the past. One reason attached to this negative opinion of current British literature is that it is unable to produce a 'state of the nation' style novel, that is a book which encompasses what DH Lawrence in 1956 described as "the whole man alive."

This is ultimately a flawed ideal though, as modern society is a highly complex beast- arguably much more so than the 1950's world in which Lawrence wrote his comment. The expectation of a modern novel to be able to swallow the moral, ethical and social dilemmas faced each day by the modern citizen seems implausible and runs the risk of producing fiction which critic Nick Rennison describes as "dead on the page."

In Money, Amis seems to have disregarded these nostalgic, backward looking critics and instead of aiming for an all encompassing view of society he has set his satirical sights on a few principle social issues which were pertinent to his time. The fact that his comments on the dangers of excessive consumerism, capitalism and the potential banality and emptiness of modern life are as relevant in 2007 as they were in 1984 is testament to the sharpness of his political and social awareness.

Although the book centres around a self proclaimed 'yob' protagonist, the text is not lacking in sophistication, Martin's lush and innovative prose style and structure prove as much. His constant references to highbrow literature seem to reinforce this idea. For instance there is an underlying allegory to Shakespeare's Othello which underlies a great majority of the novel and Amis peppers the texts with the names of great writers, such as the pub named the Shakespeare, the characters Martina Twain and Fielding Goodney, as well as references to literary places such as Room 101 (from Orwell's 1984) which is also ironically, Self's hotel room.

This novel is a high speed ride through modern life as seen through the eyes of perhaps one of its worst inhabitants. It has a particular brand of satirical and ironic humour which is confronting, but also enlightening in terms of the ultimate message which the book is attempting to make.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Writing, Nasty Humor, Dark Nihilism, September 4, 2000
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
This is the first Amis I have read, although I know of as many people who love him as who hate him. There seems to be little middle ground with regard to Amis, and after reading this dense, maddening, brilliant, depressing little book, I can see why.
The writing is breathtaking, simply breathtaking. Over and over I was brought up sharp by incredible descriptions, especially the startling juxtapositions that can only be described as poetry. Consider: "I strode through the meat eating genies of subway breath....I felt all the contention, the democracy, all the italics, in the air." Ah, this is New York.
The prose is snappy and tough, the dialogue crisp and true, like Chandler rippling through self-deprecating angst by way of John Coover. And Amis's observations of the morally demented side of human nature are hysterical, wry, biting, and too damn close for comfort.
By placing you inside the weak, repugnant, rapacious mind of John Self as the whining narrator, Amis manages to bury you in Self's self-pity while you try to recoil and distance yourself from his debauchment. You have to identify with Self if only because he is the narrator, but you hate the sound of Self in yourself.
The book is more literary than it appears at first blush--note the more and more obvious allusions and references to Othello, although Self is no where near as noble in spirit as the betrayed Moor. No one sets up John Self but John Self--there is no Iago, other than his own greed, callowness, and inability to take charge of his own humanity.
If I have any gripe with the story, it is that there are some things that are not well explored or fleshed out. There is a hint of unresolved sexual identity at the end--is Georgina really just a large woman, or a transsexual? Did Self give in to some nascent homosexual urges sprinkled throughout the story? Does Self exist at the end, or is this all merely a figment of Martin Amis's imagination--the Martin Amis who appears as a character in the novel, and who actually becomes a major player in this drama near the end. Amis teases us, especially with the frontpiece, but does not give enough to really go on. And he sets up Self as such a weak character with no insight that it is almost unfair.
All in all, a tour de force of writing in service of a thoroughly depressing and disturbing story of moral and psychological dissolution. There is no character in this book to like, no one to identify with, and if you need to have a positive resolution or a character to make you feel good, avoid this like the plague. However, if you like great writing, nasty humor, standoffish irony, and dark nihilism, Money is for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Degenerate Hedonism With a Twist Please!", August 15, 2004
By 
Kirby (Saxon, Wisconsin USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Money (Paperback)
Close your eyes, now imagine morning rush hour in New York City, or for those of you who are the night owls of this world, an anticipated evening out in the "Big Apple", are you there yet? Ha! ... energizing isn't it! That is the tone of this read, pure energy! And Amis does a fantastic job of bringing the ambiance of the New York life style to light when his protagonist John Self takes a bite out of it. You'll walk it, eat it, breathe it, experience it as you read along, this I guarantee. Now let's board a flight and cross the pond to London. We're not going to hang in the city here, but retreat to a modest little flat, "home sweet home" aaaaah! Surrounded by friends, family, familiarities, your safe haven, and take respite here. Its comfort is like a warm duvet on a chilly damp and rainy day. Mr. Amis' brilliantly painted contrasts fill the book throughout giving you that wonderful feeling of traveling to the exotic and then returning home again. And believe me, you'll appreciate the break!

Martin Amis has not only written one of the most powerful narrative voices to be laid to page in this book, but has pulled off the most unbelievable finish to this saga! My jaw dropped, eyes widened, and I found myself calling a friend to say, " You are never gonna believe this!!!" No, no, no, I'm not going to spoil that bit for you, it's absolutely too wild! Applause Mr. Amis, thunderous applause!

His first person narrator John Self speaks directly to the reader and draws you right into this story, through which an intimate relationship begins to grow with the characters, that transposes this fictional writing into unbelievable realism. The "Verbal Energy" truly dominates the prose throughout this book, as Amis' vast knowledge of the English language continually feeds you platefuls of sonorous articulation. You'll be totally stuffed, but still craving more, one of the reasons I found it so hard to put this book down.

Now if you take a self centered, low life, yes, Mr. John Self, and throw him together with a group of sordid swindlers ... friends, family, lovers, and colleagues, you'll have the guts of Money. But it's the interaction and trickery that Amis has woven between all that makes this book, everything but a "Fiasco".

Now Self, the deplorable anti-hero of this tale, is an abusive, over weight, money loving, blackout drinker, chain smoking, sex seeking, pornography aficionado, that goes through life on the take. But believe me, you are going to find yourself sympathetic towards him as this story unfolds, and you won't know at exactly what point he gained your support. Perhaps when he's gifted the book and begins to read does he begin to see a bit of worth in himself. Hmmm ...

Interestingly enough are the characters of John Self, Martina Twain, and "Martin Amis" Yes, Martin has even written himself into this story. But more so you'll find that the "real" Mr. Amis lives and breathes in this tale to a greater degree. John "Self", is ridden with a dodgy tooth that's mentioned throughout the book, (see Experience A Memoir by Martin Amis) "Martina", well educated and cultured (well is that not Martin Amis? Drop the "a" from the characters name and what do you have?), and "Martin Amis" himself the real life author, and also, as the hired screenwriter for Self's film Bad Money (check out who wrote the screen play for Saturn Five). Not to mention the suicide note addressed to "Antonia" in this story, Amis's first wife. All of the fore mentioned are truths in the real life of Martin Amis. These are just a few of the overt. There are even more shadows lurking deeper within the characters and events, which makes this read even more intriguing!

I thoroughly enjoyed this one! I can, and do, recommend this book highly! What a ride!!
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Money
Money by Martin Amis (Paperback - March 4, 1986)
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