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Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry Paperback – April 14, 2009
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
- Publisher : New Directions; Revised ed. edition (April 14, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0811209547
- ISBN-13 : 978-0811209540
- Item Weight : 7.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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However, this "accessibility" is in the midst of a studiedly experimental text. This is a corruscating satire in which Johnson targets one of the symbols of capitalism, the double entry system. The very basis of accountancy, and the manipulation of finance, Johnson turns this building block on its head as his central character, Christie Malry, a young man with a future, decides that he will live his life accoridng to the principles of double entry.
Johnson's novel has acute observations on a variety of issues in British life that still merit comment. How working class people come to vote conservative, the manner in which people's worth is measured financially; and all of this is in the midst of an angry satire where Malry wreaks vengeance on the system. It is a bitter cycnical novel, with a dark wit.
There is love, sex, and death; and an unusual use for shaving foam. And all of this is presented in a slightly distant way, where Johnson continually turns to the reader and winks, letting you know this is a novel. Characters are aware of their place in fiction, and Johnson deconstructs the novel to let you see how it works.
This description may be off putting, but this is classy fiction. It is funny, and angry. I enjoyed this work, but preferred Johnson's The Unfortunates; which I feel has more depth, and more humanity.
If you enjoyed this you may like Graham Greene's Dr Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party or Michael Dibdin's Dirty Tricks (a Thatcherite satire).
All this is set in experimental mode : the author tells us early on he isn't going to be writing a long novel, so events and characters need to be expedited accordingly. Therefore Christie's mother is dispatched in chapter two to meet this requirement, Christie's own job transfers happen just because we need him to be at a certain place in order to acquire dynamite, and so on. At one point the author even discourses with Christie telling him he needs to wrap up the novel. In the next chapter, he does, and Christie duly expires of cancer.
The double entry, illustrated throughout the book, is in fact misleading, but then this is literature and not accounting, so I won't gloss over the fact that Liabilities were omitted from the equation. As long as we're having fun, right?