Stephen Durrant's Reviews > Money

Money by Martin Amis
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Sep 26, 2011

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Read in September, 2011

Few books on my list have been more difficult for me to review than this one. Many have placed "Money" among the most important books of the last fifty years. No one who reads this book can doubt Martin Amis' ability to write rich, powerful prose. Moreover, he has created a disturbing and powerful narrative voice, one that has as little respect for himself as he has for others. And that is the rub--at least for me. I found this a very slow read. I even considered putting it aside uncompleted, even though I almost feel an ethical compulsion to finish any novel I begin. "Okay, I have gotten the point: this is a satire on the unfettered, completely immoral pursuit of money and the crassness of the American B-grade movie business. Good targets. But do I really want to spend more time in this misogynistic, hateful head?" I'm not a moralistic reader, and I agree with the critic James Wood's criticism of folks who reject certain novels because they "can't identify with the characters." Still, the narrator of "Money" is monotone and that makes for monotony. Or, just maybe,"Money" does not go far enough. No sooner did this nasty narrator appear in 1984 than Bret Easton Ellis one-upped Amis with the narrator of "American Psycho," which he published in 1991. If you want to spend ten hours or so in a sick mind, why not go all the way?

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Jean-marcel Fair criticisms; I've leveled similar ones against other Amis books (not this one, though, I love it). However, I must say that in my view Bret Easton Ellis does not, in any sense, "one up" Martin Amis....there's one writer who I think deserves no praise...not because he writes about sick, depraved people, but because his style is drab, unsubtle, dull as dishwater.

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