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Something for Nothing

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  71 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Martin Anderson has a racehorse, a deep-sea fishing boat, a vacation home in Tahoe, and a Caddy in the garage. But his life is in freefall. It's the 1970s, and with the arrival of the oil crisis and gas rationing, his small aircraft business is tanking, as is his extravagant suburban lifestyle. Martin keeps many secrets from his wife, from his mounting debt to his penchant ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Algonquin Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Wayland Smith
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
It took me a while to figure out how to describe the main character (certainly not a hero) in this book. Take a bit of Willy Loman, the lead from Death of A Salesman, with his delusions of grandeur when he can barely manage adequacy, add in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty's daydreaming protagonist, mix in the saying about "lives of quiet desperation," and add in greed and you're about there. I found this man, Martin Anderson, very hard to like.

It's the 1970's, in the midst of the oil crisis and
George Boulukos
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I got totally absorbed in this book and really enjoyed it. The protagonist, Martin Anderson, is (objectively) kind of a jerk/ definitely a screw up, but you get sucked into rooting for him despite his hypocrisy and cringe-worthy misdeeds. To me, that is excellent character development. His kids are intriguing--we only see them through his eyes. He loves them alot but sees their flaws (as he does not see his own). I think Anthony really pulls it off in that I was in suspense hoping Martin would g ...more
Well was all set to give this fast read a solid three star as it was dark, snarky and entertaining in certain aspects and I had some fun with it however the ending kinda plummeted the book and its rating for me, it just seemed rushed and undone and so a star had to leave --however if read alone as a case study on a middle aged somewhat loveable and utterly hopeless father, husband and man it is spot on..So this light read about a man in the late seventies struggling to keep his business afloat a ...more
Sandy (WI girl at heart)
Just completed reading David Anthony's book "Something for Nothing". I have to say this book started out slow but finally gain momentum in the last 1/3 of the book.

The book is about a guy who owns a airplane business, he sells them. He also has a racehorse and a problem with gambling. He has gotten himself so far in debit with the horse and business that he takes up an offer to fly shipments of Heroin up from Mexico for his horse's trainer (Val).

There is his downfall and his trying to get himsel
May 19, 2011 rated it liked it
The main character was flat, and his family was nothing more than empty character shells. Reading some Franzen would provide instruction on how to flesh out these characters through their external interactions and better internal dialogue (main character's internal dialogue was unhelpful, and none of the other characters had any, despite third-person narrative). Truthfully, this book deserved more like a 2-2.5, but I rounded up for three reasons: 1) It is set in the 1970s in the Bay Area, where ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. In fact, last night we lost power and I was so enthralled that I read it by flashlight. The writing is sharp and the characterizations even more so: this is a tale of threatened masculinity in the Bay Area suburbs of the 1970s (a time that is very politically and socially resonant for us now), of achieving status and saving face and yet still trying desperately to connect and be whole. The main character, Martin, does a lot of crazy things, and yet he never stops se ...more
Natasha Zaretsky
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found this book riveting and absorbing from page one. Set in the Bay Area in the early 1970s, the novel charts the descent of Martin Anderson, a married father of two who turns to drug smuggling in an attempt to save his failing aircraft business. Desperate to dodge downward mobility, Martin does a series of incredibly stupid and even reprehensible things. But your heart is breaking for the guy the whole way through, because what he wants most of all are things that money can't buy: simple app ...more
Will Janowitz
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in two days. Its only drawback is that it’s only 300-odd pages. I don’t read very often and usually don’t enjoy mystery or crime novels. When I do pick a book up, I keep to Tom Clancy and similar stuff, but Something for Nothing really drew me in. It’s not cheesy, obvious or frivolous. It manages to be suspenseful and serious while being funny. Martin’s perspective makes a lot of passages that could be plain depressing comical, especially in the last half of the book. His in ...more
Dulse Dorothy
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Funny, I had the exact opposite reaction to Jeremy. I also just finished "Visit to the Goon Squad," which was really good and had fun pyrotechnics, but "Something for Nothing" was a relief afterwards precisely because of its great character development. Egan's book ricocheted around from character to character, but I felt like I got to know and eventually root for Martin Andersen, even though he was pretty foolish and a little weird. I am also relieved that the author *doesn't* take Franzen's le ...more
Dan Downing
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
David Anthony's debut effort presents us with a cross genre look at an almost idealized 70s hustler. Martin Anderson has it made: house in the suburbs, beautiful wife, two children, big boat, race horse, an Airplane Company and a huge load of debt. By the alchemy of good writing and selective plotting, Anthony slowly draws us to Martin's side; we might not want him as a friend, but we recognize ourselves and those we know in him, if slightly distorted.
This story goes John Cheever one better by o
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a really great book. Honestly, I laughed out loud a bunch of times while reading it--it was very darkly ironic. And when I wasn't laughing I was worrying about the main character. He does some creepy things and he makes horrible mistakes (like smuggling drugs!), but he's someone I could relate to, mainly because he just wants to connect and be a part of things, but isn't able to. Things get more and more exciting as the book goes along, and the ending is very exciting.
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
The main character in this book didn't seem consistent too me. Choices that he makes especially towards the end of the book don't seem to fit his personality, it just seemed odd to me. I also felt parts of the story line went unresolved.
Jul 13, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a random grab off the library shelves. I did like it.. a little unsatisfying ending.. it did hold my interest though because you really do want to know how it all turns out for Martin.. a little depressing too..
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
I wish I could give this 3 1/2 stars because I feel that it rates better than three stars but not quite four. The beginning was a little slow but then I got into it. I could totally see this becoming a movie. I loved the ending. Don't want to give any spoilers but it was just perfect.
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Quite a fun book! My full review may be read on my book review blog Rundpinne.

Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, hilarious
So far I am giving this a 5-star rating. Holy shite this is funny. More to come.
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this comic-thriller;looking forward to more from its author in the future.
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
A bit uneven, but very enjoyable debut.

Michael Strong
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this fun debut thriller. Terrific period details, main character Martin is blithely stumbling through the 70s, and who doesn't love a drug smuggling /simple plan story?
Jun 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Promising narrative that could have been dark and clever felt like what I imagine swimming in molasses would feel like.
Mark Londregan
rated it liked it
Aug 17, 2011
Erica McCulloch
rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2015
rated it liked it
Jun 16, 2011
rated it it was ok
Jan 28, 2015
rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2012
rated it really liked it
May 11, 2012
Rocco Versaci
rated it really liked it
Jul 02, 2011
Bryan Goldstein
rated it liked it
Jan 25, 2014
Alice Taylor
rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2011
Gary Garth McCann
A protagonist who's lost his moral compass becomes involved in crime when he's desperate to save his used airplane sales business. In fact, he perhaps never had a moral compass, as his personal life shows him also to be not beyond intolerable behavior. Yet I was always curious as to what would happen to him. I also felt that he's typical of a current generation of me-first Americans who have bought into greed is good. His endearing characteristic is his low estimate of his own odds of ever havin ...more
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David Anthony grew up in the Bay Area. He is an associate professor of early American literature in the Department of English at SIU-Carbondale. SOMETHING FOR NOTHING is his first novel.
More about David Anthony

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