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The Millionaires: A Novel Hardcover – January 7, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Majors's (Wonderdog) bloated, frenetic third novel, two young East Tennessee brothers born into extreme wealth struggle to keep their secrets under wraps. J.T. Cole, a fast-driving banker, wants to put Glennville, Tenn., on the map by having the city host a world expo, while his younger and more sophisticated banker brother, Roland, has his heart set on running for the coveted governorship. A successful fairground event nets the brothers some serious cash, much to the chagrin of investigators keeping a close eye on the bankers' shady loan practices. For the duration of the novel, both men are consistently unlikable, cheating on their sassy, perceptive, fedup wives and pushing their weight around their respective territories. By the time J.T.'s wife, Corrine, rightfully throws him out, federal agents descend on the thieving bankers, and a plane disaster shakes everyone up, readers will be too exhausted to care. This sprawling effort is a jumble of excessive exposition and sentence fragments that could have been a lively, spirited tale of greed corrupting absolutely. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Moving from backroom poker games to pols’ hangouts to the governor’s office, this expansive, smoothly flowing novel offers a rich look at family dynamics and overweening ambition.” (Booklist)

“Majors's depiction of a Tennessee evening is reminiscent of James Agee's hypnotic Knoxville: Summer of 1915.” (New York Times Book Review)

“The best, most fully accomplished new novel I have read in perhaps three years…a kind of Southern Great Gatsby.
” (Alabama Public Radio)

“Giving us profilgate bankers who borrow badly, The Millionaires is a timely work.
” (Wall Street Journal)

“Entertaining and thought-provoking…It's literature, and serious readers will want to tackle it.
” (Baton Rouge Advocate)

“Inman Majors has wandered into a wild territory previously wholly owned by Robert Penn Warren and established squatters' rights.” (Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and Liar's Poker)

“A knowing social novel, ruthlessly alive. Inman Majors may know everything.” (Mark Costello, author of Big If)

“Majors's prose often kicks your head back in outright admiration. What a hell of a writer.” (Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury)

“[A] deftly rendered look at the modern South and contemporary America... Scenes that require it burst at the seams with Majors's poetry.” (Anniston Star)

“An engrossing story about ambition and integrity...Majors deserves ample applause for his storytelling and character-drawing skills.” (Raleigh News and Observer)

“A sprawling, smart, fast-moving insider novel by author Inman Majors, who knows his way around politics, Tennessee Style.” (Memphis Magazine)

“[A] fine example of what happens when the Old South meets the New South.” (Richmond Times Dispatch)

“[A] deeply Southern tale of power and corruption.” (Birmingham Magazine)

“A stirring story. ...The Millionaires reads like today's headlines, complete with a dynamic back story.” (Roanoke Times)

“Like the best of books, The Millionaires grants its subjects their humanity, and leaves you pondering the imponderable.” (OpEd News)

“Majors pairs a cast of likable characters with a strong setting, elements that set this novel apart.” (Library Journal)

The Millionaires is a novel of the New South, that near-mythical place where a good old boy―to his astonishment―can grow money more readily than tobacco leaves.” (Charlotte Observer)

The Millionaires, with its wry, sophisticated narrative voice, a voice in full control, is the best, most fully accomplished new novel I have read in perhaps three years.... It is serious business and it is very good.” (Tuscaloosa News)

“[There are] flashes of absolutely brilliant prose.... This is a story of the New South, and of the politics, the financial shenanigans, and the competitive mind games that bring wealth and power to a handful of determined men. [Majors's] description of the beautiful Appalachian mountains is a plus.” (The Midwest Book Review)

“Remarkable and very timely... the story of two small-town brothers who rise to dangerous big-city heights is as big and ambitious as the physical book itself.” (Bookpage)

“It's the kind of book that is both entertaining and thought-provoking and there are no loose ends, no unfinished plot lines. It has a clear message and focus. It's literature, and serious readers will want to tackle it.” (The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana))

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (January 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393068021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393068023
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,590,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Simply put, this is a brilliant new novel from Inman Majors (Swimming in Sky, Wonderdog). Being a life long southerner myself, it is clear that Majors understands how and why this region changed better than anyone I have read since Faulkner. The novel explores man's most dangerous enemies-greed and ambition- while offering a look at the changing south and all its complexities. The Teague character is especially fascinating in how real he is- not all virtuous, not entirely corrupt. This timely work combines the drama of sibling relationships, politics and power to create a poignant glimpse at the changing south in the late 1970's and early 1980's. It is the best novel I have read in a long time.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is much to like about this book. I won't go into the story line, but will spend a bit of time on the writing and my reaction to the story.

This is very close to a 5 star book for me. It took awhile to get into since the writing style is very different. There are no quotation marks and many liberties are taken with punctuation in general. It was distracting at first, but fairly quickly I got in the flow and found it to be fine. This is also not written like a "normal" novel in other ways. Each chapter may have a completely unique stye. One of the formats is that of a script including lighting instructions, etc. Another of the formats is a snapshot of different conversations going on -- particularly a group of conversations prior to a football game with each person's monologue as a subset. Again, I found this a bit jarring at first but found I really enjoyed it as the book moved along because it was such a fresh approach and made it really stand out from other books I have read lately.

The only reason I didn't give it a 5 star rating was that there is some over-use of particular, unusual words that I noticed enough that it disrupted the flow for me. Minor, but still a flaw.

Overall, the book is outstanding and the writing is great. There were some great passages in the book where I found myself saying "that's a perfect description" of something --- those are the books that rise to the top for me. Something I had taken for granted and not paid attention to was pointed out in the book and I appreciated the author's observation skills and ability to make whatever it was come alive.

Great book -- settle in for a great read !
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Inman Majors is a skilled wordsmith; his dialog and syntax are spot-on with respect to the region and characters about whom he is writing. His descriptions are beautifully woven word pictures; extremely well done so the reader feels a part of the scenes. The chapter titled "Teague in the Country" - page 306 in the advanced reader's copy - is pure poetry.

That being said, it took me about half the novel to become entirely engrossed in the story. Major's writing style took some getting used to and, although I ended up really enjoying the book, I was initially put off by the novel's format.

While the promo's indicate this is a book about the Cole Brothers, I found the story to be more focused on Mike Teague and the Cole wives. Teague is the strong, silent type. As the lobbyist working for the Cole brothers, he is ensnared in a web of deceite and nearly ruined. Only his inherent honesty, valued by the men who have none, ends up saving him. The Cole women are "steel magnolias," putting up with the foibles of their men, but ultimately surviving and thriving. One has "married up" and one has "married down", but both are interesting characters. Their one weakness is putting up with the brothers' infidelities.

This is a beautifully written, complex novel that is not to be read when distracted. The story is involved enough to require the reader's attention and blocks of uninterrupted time in which to read. I definitely enjoyed the book more when I devoted time to its reading, rather than trying to catch a page here or there. Not a book for the doctor's office or the airport.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a political friend who worked on and around Capitol Hill in Tennessee, as did I, and recognized several of the characters. So much of it is so true, but you still don't get that these people, although they were hungry for power, had a softer and gentler side and were not all bad. I have not finished the book yet, but it has brought back a lot of memories od my younger days, and I recommend it for people who have been involved in state government on either side of the fence.
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Format: Hardcover
The most impressive aspect of the novel The Millionaires - a timelessly relevant account of financial fraud and political corruption - is its dedication to the craft of writing. Author Inman Majors skillfully relates this historically based saga of southern politics and scandal using an economy of words - crisp, taut narrative, blended seamlessly with vivid dialogue, ripe with the rich language of the South, its landscape and its characters. A less professional writer might over-dramatize and ramble for a thousand pages taking on such an ambitious story. But Majors, in the tradition of great Southern storytellers, has a natural feel for when to provide detail, and when not to. As evident in his previous two novels, Majors has a knack for just the right word at every turn, and knows when and how to punctuate with humor. He writes with clarity, and a rhythm that unravels at an appetizing pace for the reader its compelling themes (familial bonds and paternal influence on ambition, provincial escape, the tempestuous yet intimate relationship of business and politics, the necessity of risk for prosperity, the resilience of man's drive to succeed and survive, the paradox of the over-leveraged American dream in bed with small town values...) The Millionaires is a highly recommended read, grand in its social implications, original and nuanced in style and form, not unlike the works of the great southern writers. (At the risk of over-generalized comparison, Thomas Wolfe's Of Time and The River comes to mind, at least thematically and socially - Majors is a funnier, less wordy version of Wolfe - maybe somewhere between him and Cormac McCarthy in terseness). It may take years for an intelligent readership to accord The Millionaires its due, but clearly Inman Majors has the talent and vision, like his southern predecessors, to one day be considered among a revered few in American literature.
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