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Christie Malry's Own Double Entry

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  729 ratings  ·  78 reviews
B.S. Johnson's funniest and most accessible novel, reissued for the first time in 25 years with a foreword by John Lanchester Christie Malry is a simple person. Born into a family without money he realised early along in the game that the best way to come by money was to place himself next to it. So he took a job as a very junior bank clerk in a very stuffy bank. It was at ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published May 25th 2001 by Picador (first published 1973)
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Ice by Anna KavanImpossible Object by Nicholas MosleyThe Unfortunates by B.S. JohnsonChristie Malry's Own Double Entry by B.S. JohnsonThe Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard
British Experimental Novels 1940-1980
4th out of 89 books — 22 voters
Infinite Jest by David Foster WallaceSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutGravity's Rainbow by Thomas PynchonIf on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo CalvinoWhite Noise by Don DeLillo
Postmodern Genius
72nd out of 450 books — 343 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,577)
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Kris
Sep 04, 2012 Kris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kris by: Mark
Shelves: fiction, favorites
I am joining my voice to the chorus of friends who love this book. I read it yesterday, when I was not in the best of moods. Johnson's writing helped to lift that haze. (Many thanks to Mark for recommending and lending the book to me. I have now ordered my own copy - you're correct that I want it for my collection.)

As mentioned in other reviews, this is an experimental novel that combines wicked doses of dark humor with many different, and hilarious, nods to the fact that this is a novel. The na
...more
Mike Puma
This novel’s humorous tone and the author’s suicide will put some readers in mind of John Kennedy Toole and his A Confederacy of Dunces. The protagonists of both novels share a general loathing of their circumstances and the people around them. CMOD-e is, however, much more fun and funnier. Johnson’s metafictional account of Christie Malry’s attempt to balance his life’s accounts is, at first, easy to identify with and creates in the reader a sympathetic reflection.

At one point the intrusive au

...more
knig
Extremely clever rendition of a bored accounts clerk who decides to square it with fate with his very own double entry ‘reckoning’ by going ‘postal worker’ : debit Christie Malry, credit the body count. The ratio seems to work out roughly to several hundred corpses for every time his boss shouts at him. Which is not to say that he’s got double entry right here: what I’ve retained from accountancy 101 makes me cringe at this blatant misuse of credit and debit (done deliberately I believe, as John ...more
Ian Pagan-Szary
A Novel Epigram

The author, B.S. Johnson:

"The novel should now try simply to be Funny, Brutalist, and Short."

"It does not seem to me possible to take this novel much further. I’m sorry."

Ain’t that the truth.

The Zany Prankster

This novel is Funny, Brutalist, and Short. (Only a little longer than this review actually.)

It takes a simple person, an industrious pilgrim, Christie Malry, and it tells you the truth about him, his place in the world and his progress through it.

Unlike most people, he doesn
...more
MJ Nicholls
This touching and despairing and hilarious and beautiful book demands to be read NOW. B.S. Johnson was painfully aware of the artifice of the novel, fed-up of conventional narrative styles and the failings of the novel as an art form. In a sense he was an anti-novelist, his utterly contrary approach making him one of the most original novelists of his generation.

This book, for those morbid enquirers, can be read as Johnson's suicide note. Despite its cynical, dismissive view of humanity it is al
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Paul Bryant


This was a really difficult book to read. Because it was quite short, the strong glue the printers used meant that it wouldn’t open fully unless I was going to break the spine, which I was loath to do as it’s a brand new copy (unusually for me - I prefer second hand paperbacks, and if there’s marginalia in them so much the better, it’s like stalking the intimate moments of a previous reader. I believe I am not alone in this secret pleasure). So I was forever peering down a waterfall of text disa
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Mark
The best book I have ever read, period. Part V For Vendetta, part Fight Club, part Monty Python, part PoMo comedy/revenge anti-novel that's barely long enough to be called a novel at all (appropriately enough). The characters live and breathe, despite Johnson's repeated reminders that this is indeed a work of fiction.

The Fourth Wall hath been breached and we the readers are all the better for it.
Greg
B.S. Johnson is someone I had never read before, but had been on my radar to read for quite sometime. I think at some point I read that DFW really liked him, and then a few years ago Jonathan Coe wrote a very interesting looking biography on him. I don't know what took me so long to finally try to read him, his books that are still in print aren't too big, this one is only about two hundred pages, and a lot of those pages are filled with lots of white space. Yes his books are kind of expensive, ...more
Nate D
Nov 28, 2011 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: orderly anarchists
Recommended to Nate D by: MJ / Jasmine
I've hit upon a lucky string of pretty excellent books lately, and this is another.

Detailing the life of a petty clerk who begins to tally his accounts with society -- debits incurred by an assortment of modern inconveniences, frustrations, and injustices against his credits, beginning with minor vandalisms and quickly escalating -- this reads like a kind of darker Calvino, seemingly light-handed amusing post-modernism eliding into something much more cynical. As others have observed, this was h
...more
Carmen
Really really really liked this one.

Totally preposterous but totally brilliant, in a Vonnegut sort of way. Johnson is totally aware of the tropes of novel writing and twists them, pokes fun at them, and yet he uses them while he pokes fun.

Sure, it is dark! It's dark in that there's a complete disregard for human life. But the author is actually making a point at how our society undervalues humanity. And once Christie Malry (The King Evilmaker/anti-Christ if you read his name that way) gets out
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Jim Elkins
This is a hard novel to assess, for two unrelated reasons.

First, it may be the best of the 1970s style postmodern narratives in which the author continuously reminds the reader that it’s only a narrative, not anything real. If it is the best, it’s because of Johnson’s light touch. The first hint of metanarrative is on the first page. The book begins with a one-sentence paragraph:

“Christie Malry was a simple person.”

There then follows a paragraph describing a stupid decision he makes. The third p
...more
Tosh
A quirky book about the quiet one in an office. B.S. Johnson is a British cult writer who has a rather dry sense of humor (or humour) and this book is funny. It has almost a Goons sense of adventure/funny ha-ha, but it actually has serious overtones.

The experimental aspect of the novel can be border-line pretentious, but the humor saves it from that dreaded area. I will locate more of Johnson's writings/books!
Rhys
I first read this novel about four years ago and was blown away by it. The story of a young man who applies the principles of Double Entry Bookkeeping to the moral questions of everyday life -- as I'm convinced many of us do -- seemed profound, funny and tragic all at the same time. Almost immediately *Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry* became one of my all-time favourite novels, certainly somewhere in my top 10 best-ever fiction reads.

After this recent re-reading it still holds its position in
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Kyle
Nominally about some simpleminded clerk in dreariest Hammersmith who takes the soothing certainty of the double-entry method and applies it to the unsettling complexities he encounters inside and outside of the workplace. The narrative includes a number of double-entry sheets with debits and credits assigned to various injuries Malry suffers and the actions he takes to compensate for them- a few hundred in the debit column for the fact that socialism hasn't been given a chance, and a few hundred ...more
Christopher James
This book is very interesting indeed.

Johnson was writing at a time when much of the literati were bemoaning the death of the novel. The introduction tells us that Johnson, in many ways, agreed. If all you wanted to do was tell a story then film or television was a better medium. The saving grace of the novel was it's ability to delve into internal states. All very true.

Yet here's a book that's packed with plot. It fizzes along, casually throwing around some very big ideas, neat po-mo tricks, s
...more
Ben
'Christie,' I warned him, 'it does not seem to me possible to take this novel much further. I'm sorry.'
'Don't be sorry,' said Christie, in a kindly manner, 'don't be sorry. We don't equate length with importance, do we? And who wants long novels anyway? Why spend all your spare time for a month reading a thousand-page novel when you can have a comparable aesthetic experience in the theatre or cinema in only one evening? The writing of a long novel is in itself an anachronistic act: it was relev
...more
Beatrice
I like things that are self-aware without taking themselves too seriously and this was exactly that. Definitely not for everyone...but, if you have a sense of humor and fancy yourself clever, you will probably appreciate it as well
Andrew Schirmer
A nearly unrelenting romp of great hilarity, the central idea of which is a reductio ad absurdum of a basic accounting tenet. Fantastic authorial insertions a la Gilbert Sorrentino...
Jasmine
another book I forgot to review. this is fantastic. B.s johnson killed himself because he was angry that he wasn't more famous, if that isn't a reason to read it nothing is.
Jonathan
Loved it - perhaps some of the meta-textual play feels a little dated now, but the wit and narrative force more than makes up for it.
David
Jan 19, 2014 David rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to David by: Michael Dirda, Washington Post
Shelves: read-fiction
Having read this short novel (about a crazed accountant) and Albert Angelo within the space of two weeks, I have completely exhausted the Washington, D.C., public library system's supply of the works of B.S. Johnson.

To my Goodreads friend who is an accountant (you know who you are): I recommend this book because it is always interesting to see how your chosen profession (whatever it is) is portrayed in fiction. That's why I'm always telling dentists to read Buddenbrooks even though, whenever
...more
Hans Thyssen
Reader, you should read this if you want to be a good reader.

First of all, I want to say thank you to Mister Luke Haines. He mentioned Christie Malry during an interview and concert at the Southbank Centre last summer (which summer I mean you'll have to find out yourself if your interested at all). Later I also read a book by Mister Haynes, called Post Everything: Outsider Rock and Roll. In this book he luckily mentioned Mr. Malry again, because I had forgotten to write it down.

Christie Malry
...more
Grim-Anal King
Oh so post-modern in a way that seems fairly fresh when Stewart Lee attempts it in comedy but seems dated in literary form. No worries though, it's set before I was born and the author writing himself in isn't clumsy like Alasdair Gray in Lanark or Iain Sinclair in that Welsh one I can't remember the name of and can't be be bothered to look up. Being postmodern in the distant past is more edgy than being postmodern about the present. Because we are postmodern and they weren't or didn't think the ...more
Caroline
Sharply funny and insidiously postmodern. Johnson was ahead of his time in undercutting the narrative conventions by referring to his own authorship on almost every page.

But his real intent is to suggest the system dooms us to inevitably be on the losing side of life. Even when Christie throws all conventional morality to the wind he cannot come out ahead.

And when Johnson has just 'shown this', he nevertheless chides himself for writing about the battle instead of engaging in it himself.
Adam Dalva
A totally wonderful lean volume of metafiction. Not for everyone, but I've never read a book that relishes its bookiness more, that is more pleasantly self-aware. I hadn't heard of Johnson before reading this (frankly, I don't even remember why I have this one), and I will be going back to the well shortly. Who else gives you paragraphs like:

"Headlam paused to provide a paragraph break for resting the reader's eye in what might otherwise have been a daunting mass of type"

What's special about thi
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Adam Floridia

Never has a terrorist been more likeable. When one thinks of a “terrorist,” Christie Malry is probably the last thing that would come to mind.

The creative and humorous moments of meta-narrative and purposefully lazy writing are great.

I really liked the book.

Here are some favorite quotations:

On jobs: “Christie had expected to have to work hard, and to find the work uncongenial and menial, at first. What he did not expect was the atmosphere in which he was expected to work, and which was created
...more
Russell George
Whereas ‘The Unfortunates’ was wonderful for its stream of consciousness honesty, this book is possibly the most arch and knowing thing I’ve ever read. What they both share, however, is Johnson’s challenge to the traditional form of the novel. In The Unfortunates, this is achieved brilliantly by a collection of sections that can be read in any order. Consciousness doesn’t have a beginning, middle or end; it just is, and I found the tone of TU enthralling. In this, the narrating voice frequently ...more
D
B.S. Johnson was unique in terms of his approach to the novel. There is a constant pulling back of the curtain here to reveal the author, like the Wizzard of Oz, pulling all the leavers and simply making all of this up. Why is Christie the way he is ? What does it matter? Why do you want to know back story, it'll only mean I have to make it up and my intention is to keep this novel short.

It is the equivalent of that moment in TV Land when the person turns, walks up to the camera and taps the scr
...more
Faraway
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
Ok,i break my rules again. I was just posting a Bill Bryson's book on the App. Trail, and I though to myself, how rare to find a book that made me laugh out load, no chortle no quiet guffaw or an internal "that is funny, " but a really laugh out loud and proud like a Nazareth record (70's band.. look it up).
there a few. and this one, comes immediately to mind, so i figure I should add this now even though i read a while ago.. but I am sure will re-read again.
plus BS JOhnson is one of the great
...more
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B. S. Johnson (Bryan Stanley Johnson) was an English experimental novelist, poet, literary critic and film-maker.

Johnson was born into a working class family, was evacuated from London during World War II and left school at sixteen to work variously as an accounting clerk, bank junior and clerk at Standard Oil Company. However, he taught himself Latin in the evenings, attended a year's pre-univers
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