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Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,403 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Christie Malry is a simple man. His job in a bank puts him next to, but not in possession of, money. As a clerk he learns the principles of Double-Entry Bookkeeping and adapts them in his own dramatic fashion to settle his personal account with society.

Under the column headed 'Aggravation' for offences received from society (unpleasantness of Bank Manager; general diminuti
Paperback, 187 pages
Published May 25th 2001 by Picador (first published 1973)
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Vit Babenco
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry is a unique balance sheet of a single human being’s existence…
Christie Malry is young but he knows that money gives power so to be closer to the great amounts of money he starts working in the bank.
Christie had expected to have to work hard, and to find the work both uncongenial and menial, at first. What he did not expect was the atmosphere in which he was expected to work, and which was created by his fellow-employees or colleagues as they were in the habit of
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kris by: Mark
Shelves: fiction, five-stars
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ian by: MJ Nicholls
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
Paul Bryant
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels

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
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keeper, favourites, quirky
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
MJ Nicholls
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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

3.5 stars.

There are some fantastic top community reviews of this book so why should I work hard? Perhaps I should debit them for depriving me of the opportunity...

There are two ways of approaching this book:

A) Siding with the underdog—don't we just love it? Down with the system, burn everything down, out with the old—our spleen gets a vicarious outlet identifying with Christie Malry. But who is this deluded malcontent? And does he have any alternative plans once the system is really down? At wha
Nate D
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Fulcher
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Christie Malry was a simple man.

It did not take him long to realise that he had not been born into money; that he would therefore have to acquire it as best he could; that there were unpleasant (and to him unacceptable) penalties for acquiring it by those methods considered to be criminal by society; that there were other methods not (somewhat arbitrarily) considered criminal by society; and that the course most likely to benefit him would be to place himself next to the money, or at least to th
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a short, darkly humorous novel about evening the score and getting back at society. It’s clever, funny, and very well put together. I enjoyed the postmodern metafictional elements, which felt refreshing and did not take themselves too seriously. Despite his troubled state of mind, clearly the author was having fun with this one.
Jim Elkins
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Conceptual Writing and Lack of Affect

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
Adam Dalva
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 th
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's one thing to break the fictional 'fourth-wall', another to facilitate our enjoyment of the process (rather than have us wearily think, 'Here we go, they've gone all meta,') and another still for the impudence of having done so make no difference to how much we care about plot developments, nor derail our appreciation of a text. In fact, Johnson regularly disparages plot and narrative convention, at one point admitting he 'can't really be bothered' to explain how Christie manages to set up a ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Recently, I have read several books that have referenced, in one way or another, the works of B S Johnson. I decided I should do something about the fact that I haven’t read any of his books. My introduction to B S Johnson has come via the generosity of my GR friend Paul who has so far passed two of Johnson’s books to me. So, let’s start by thanking Paul.

This novel was Johnson’s final work, published shortly before his death by suicide in 1973. The book opens with an introduction by John Lanches
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although sadly, the title does NOT refer to the world's most agile (and kinkiest) porn actor, it DOES have its own mordant charms. The novel instead chronicles the exploits of a young accountant whose 'Great Idea' is to make the world pay for every slight he feels has unjustifiably come his way, in order to maintain an equitable balance sheet. As in all Johnson's work, this seeks to extend the boundaries of what a novel is and can be, here introducing a lot of metafictional episodes, including t ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-memoir
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
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Andrew Schirmer
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english
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...
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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!
🐴 🍖
reread; still owns. i remembered from last time the humor & the incredible chapter titles... something that stood out this time around was the rich description of each indiv dept of the sweets factory (the bawdy nutladies, the pounding machinery to agitate the chocolate, &c.). it's a heck of a lot of world-building for a book that elsewhere is so preoccupied with pulling down the scenery and pointing out that fiction isn't real! on the 1st go-round, the bit toward the end where christie rails at ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To squares, among whom I would steadfastly not wish to count myself, CHRISTIE MALRY'S OWN DOUBLE-ENTRY might well be read as a cautionary tale about cataclysmic overreach, but to anarchists, among whom I guess I more or less temperamentally count myself, it will read as merely delightful. The anarchy begins (or ends, either/or) at the level of form - at the level of simply being a novel. The characters often expressly assert that they are indeed characters in a novel, and will even refer to past ...more
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
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
Christopher James
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
James Tingle
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is one of those books where you start it and realise that it's a bit different from anything you've read before. It doesn't take that long to read but is very inventive and experimental but always remains very readable and approachable. Not sure why this isn't a more famous title really...perfect if you fancy discovering a hidden gem and a good way to immerse yourself in the world of Johnson and his other enjoyable, original works.
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 11books
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
May 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british
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. ...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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