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Too Much Money: A Novel Hardcover – December 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (December 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780609603871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609603871
  • ASIN: 0609603876
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For every striver who claws his way to the top of the moneyed heap, another must fall from grace to make room; in the work of late novelist and journalist Dunne (1925-2009), those falls are usually preceded by a vigorous shove. In his final novel, the players include grande dame Lil Altemus, banking heiress (and suspected murderess) Perla Zacharias, and flight attendant-turned-jetsetter Ruby Renthal, alongside journalist Gus Bailey (Dunne's minimally-fictionalized surrogate). A sequel to 1988's People Like Us based on Dunne's real-life experiences as a society crime writer, Dunne brings an expected level of intimacy to his unflattering look at New York's wealthiest citizens, incorporating his own spectacular Hollywood fall from grace and subsequent comeback, as well as his legal standoff with a congressman whom Dunne implicated in the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy. A fitting cap to Dunne's notable career, this novel is more parody than satire-populated by jeer-worthy caricatures hard to sympathize with-but proves to be a compulsively readable diversion, showcasing Dunne's razor wit and furious disdain for those who believe that laws apply to everyone but themselves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Readers mourned Dunne’s passing in August 2009, bereft at the thought of life without his keen novels and incisive Vanity Fair profiles of the rich and shameless. But Dunne grants us one more good read (which he would have greatly refined), a shrewd comedy of Manhattan’s elite in the time of Bernie Madoff. As a farewell gesture, Dunne bestows his own traits, trials, and tribulations on Gus Bailey, who is privy to the juiciest gossip and writes about the megarich gone wild for a posh magazine and in risky romans à clef. But now his career is in jeopardy. How could he have fallen for that bogus story about a California congressman and his missing intern? And how far will the ferocious Perla Zacharias go to stop his novel about the suspicious death of her husband? This is a scathing critique of excess and insularity to decode and delight in, what with ruthless Ruby, the wife of an incarcerated financier; a Brooke Astor variation; “extra” men who escort women with “too much money” and too little love; and a hilarious scene involving pearls and pea soup. But Dunne’s glittering high-society satire harbors sorrow at its heart as Dunne’s burdened hero ponders his secrets and regrets. --Donna Seaman

More About the Author

Dominick Dunne (1925-2009) was the author of five bestselling novels, two collections of essays, and "The Way We Lived Then," a memoir with photographs. His final novel, "Too Much Money," will be published in December 2009. He was a Special Correspondent for "Vanity Fair" and lived in New York City and Hadlyme, Connecticut.

Photo (C) H. Thompson

Customer Reviews

Interesting plot line, memorable characters written with Dominick Dunne's wit!
Amazon Customer
What did matter, though, is that a good part of Too Much Money just isn't very good--I'd say about the last third.
Pat in Northern Utah
If you read one of his books, you will not be able to stop until you have read them all.
Barbara Brophy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 103 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Novelist/columnist Dominick Dunne died in the August of this last year, leaving behind a legacy of reporting on the uppermost circles of American society.

And he doesn't disappoint in his final roman à clef, a gilded look into the unseen world at the top of New York, where scandals and crimes swim under the glimmering surface. But "Too Much Money" could easily be called "Portrait of an Artist Who Knows the End is Near" -- the main character is pretty much identical to Dunne himself in his final years, and there's a poignant bite to his last quiet quest for the truth.

Gus Bailey has had a rough two years, especially since a corrupt politician (suspected in the death of an intern) is suing him for libel because of a careless mistake. So he's focusing on a pet project he's wanted to work on for years -- "An Infamous Woman," about the philanthropist Perla Zacharias and the mysterious, suspicious death of her husband Konstantin. However, Perla isn't about to take this lying down -- and she'll unleash filthy rumors, spying, and whatever else it takes to keep all her skeletons in the closet.

While this is going on, society is undergoing shifts both subtle and massive. The infamous Elias Renthal is being released from prison, and he and his wife are beginning a crusade to reenter polite society; a genteel old-guard matron finds herself "downsized" from her life of grandeur, but is offered a new chance; and a charming, light-fingered gay "walker" wends his way onto the trains of wealthy women. Some will rise, some will fall, and Gus Bailey will see it all.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dominick Dunne did not go gently into that good night. For those who loved his jaded look into the lifestyles of the rich and famous -- and I count myself among them -- this is his swan song. And precisely because he does have loose ends to tie up and things to put to rest, this book is not as satisfying as his others -- People Like Us, The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, and Season in Purgatory, to name a few.

Here, his alter ego -- Gus Bailey -- again glides through the world of the most swanky invitations and best restaurant tables, an insular world where people think nothing of buying Karl Lagerfeld designer duds with sable cuffs and joining the ultra-chic social club, The Butterfield in Manhattan.

His characters are very thinly veiled stand-ins for people whose names have become household words -- Adele Harcourt, for example, is obviously Brooke Astor, Christine Saunders is Barbara Walters, Kyle Cramden is Gary Condit and Perla Zacharias is Lily Safra, the international jet-setter whose husband died in a mysterious fire. Grayson Carter -- the editor of Vanity Fair -- also is depicted. And there are famous "walkers" here, too -- gay men who accompany stupendously wealthy divorcees and widows to high-visibility public events. And, of course there are the "wanna-bees" -- put-upon personal cooks, gossipy florists and undertakers -- all those who float below the world of the high-and-mighty.

The plot is thin -- at the center of it, Gus Bailey struggles to complete one last book about the death of Perla Zacharias' husband, while she summons every bit of money and influence to defeat him. Favorite past charcters like Ruby and Elias Renthal and Lil Altemus make their appearance.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By headbutler on December 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Part of the appeal of Dominick Dunne's novels is that he rips the veil off the rich and powerful; underneath he gives us the stench of corruption and desperation. And yet his first-person narrator --- Gus Bailey, a thinly disguised stand-in for Dunne --- gets asked back to dinner. Talk about your unlikely hero!

The aging hostess and the dying guest are staples in Dominick Dunne's final book. Written while he was dying --- and knew it --- this is a book about older people, Society figures from Dunne's novels of the 1980s and 1990s.

There are some new elements. On a radio show, Gus has shared a piece of gossip about a Congressman who's a suspect in the disappearance of an intern; just as Dunne was by Gary Condit, Gus has been sued for millions. The editor of Park Avenue Magazine assures Gus that the boss will cover his legal fees, inspired, no doubt, by a promise that Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter reportedly made to Dunne. And Gus confesses to his lawyer that he's bi-sexual, though he has been celibate for decades.

If you didn't read Dunne's first few novels, think twice --- you'll have a hard time figuring out who's who here, to say nothing of what they're fighting about. But for the millions who loved his sleek prose, inside dish and deep skepticism about the rich, Dominick Dunne's exit interview is surely necessary reading
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on December 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dominick Dunne's endearing creation, Gus Bailey, was very much his alter ego: a likeable guy who went everywhere, knew everyone, and was as good a listener as he was a reporter of the social scene. In "Too Much Money", Dunne's valedictory, Bailey returns for one final bow, bringing with him many of the characters who fascinated his readers in "People Like Us".

Dunne refers to "People Like Us" often in "Too Much Money", only here it's called "Our Own Kind" (as if anyone wouldn't understand the reference). Apparently, "People Like Us" landed Dunne on several high society figures' blacklists; Jerry Zipkin, lampooned as the fat and fatuous Ezzie Fenwick, was furious at him, and Annette de la Renta (Oscar the designer's wife) cut him dead at a dinner party after recognizing herself as Loelia Manchester, just to name two. In "Too Much Money" he brings back the notorious Renthals, the social-climbing Ruby and her insider-trading husband Elias, about to be released from the "facility" (i.e. federal penitentiary) where he has spent the last seven years; Lillian Altemus Van Degan, snooty as ever, fallen off her pedestal after the despised poor relative Dodo inherited all the Van Degan money; Maisie Verdurin, former art dealer turned real estate maven, and several more. He also introduces a deliciously nasty villain named Perla Zacharias, the third richest woman in the world, whose husband, Konstantin, has died under peculiarly suspicious circumstances.
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