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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart-ass brilliance
Amis gets a bad press, and you can see why. Why is a middle class novelist from London writing in this smart-ass cool American jargon? Why is he so clearly in love with this disposable cynical money grabbing pornographic transatlantic culture that this book is rubbishing? I started the book in this mode of thought, ready to hate it. But the language and the rhythm and...
Published on 15 Feb 2000

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Baby I got your money
I have mixed feelings about this book. Despite containing some moments of the wit and satire that Amis seems to be able to dash off so easily, it never feels like it totally justifies the price of admission.

Like the central character John Self, the prose feels bloated at 368 pages long. There's a kind of rhythm in the repetition of the constant acts of...
Published on 12 Aug 2010 by Dead Celeb


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Baby I got your money, 12 Aug 2010
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
I have mixed feelings about this book. Despite containing some moments of the wit and satire that Amis seems to be able to dash off so easily, it never feels like it totally justifies the price of admission.

Like the central character John Self, the prose feels bloated at 368 pages long. There's a kind of rhythm in the repetition of the constant acts of gluttony, depravity and violence of Self that I suppose you could argue form the basis of the satire. The problem I have with this is that if this book is intended as a satire, it doesn't feel like the aim is precise enough- it's more of a scattergun approach in which all of the targets receive a blast of Amis's caustic style.

What this leaves you with is a fairly stretched story full of unlikable characters (although I did enjoy John Self's dead pan reflections and utter lack of regret on events that would horrify most of us- being thrown out of bars, losing fights, throwing up in front of important people) interspersed with some genuinely funny moments.

It comes down to personal taste, as I know there are plenty of people who rate this book, but ultimately I found it comes off like an overlong speech by a very witty, though very drunk friend.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart-ass brilliance, 15 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
Amis gets a bad press, and you can see why. Why is a middle class novelist from London writing in this smart-ass cool American jargon? Why is he so clearly in love with this disposable cynical money grabbing pornographic transatlantic culture that this book is rubbishing? I started the book in this mode of thought, ready to hate it. But the language and the rhythm and the wit are so brilliant, and so energetic, that I was completely won over after 50 pages or so. This is a Hogarthian world of exploitation and indulgence. John Self tries to get on the gravy train but ends up being shafted himself.
The book is also very, very funny. The scenes when John explains to the young Hollywood brat pack movie actor Spunk Davis that it might be helpful for the British market if he changed his first name, and when a prostitute asks him if he is very excited at the impending Diana and Charles wedding had me laughing out loud.
I even forgive his having John meet a dull British novelist, one Martin Amis, in a café and signing him up as screenwriter.
Sure it is self consciously clever. But I would rather have the brilliance that is here than not at all. And it is good to read a serious book that is actually dealing directly with our times rather than some time in the past (like most of the contemporary novels I read).
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just don't make a film out of this!, 12 July 2004
"I have measured out my life in coffee spoons" is a quotation from T.S Eliot. For me: substitute readings of this modern classic for spoons. I think that it was described as the best literary account of the 80s, and I would definitely agree. It is difficult to add to the eloquent appraisals of this book by other reviewers.
"Success" comes closest to it, in terms of comic perspective on class and society; and, re-reading the latter a few weeks ago, it seems obvious that it was the run-up to "Money." There is so much that makes me laugh, with repeated readings. The idiotic American who thinks that "Pericles: Prince Of Tyre" is about an automobile business is one that I always remember.
I don't think that Amis will ever write a novel (he can still pull it off with essays and short stories) as great as this.
At least two of his novels have been bungled as screen adaptations. "London Fields" is reportedly being worked on (promising, as Cronenburg is the director, and he created the atmosphere for "Spider" excellently), but his should not be attempted.
Like a comet, it will fly into my orbit for another re-reading within months or years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A savage funny monologue, 1 Feb 2008
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
This is a novel written in the early 80's and is one long monologue about money and what chasing money, having money( and not having money) does to John Self the central character. He is a successful Ad director but at heart a fast talking East end boozing womaniser addicted to fast food and porno. And if you still like him, he beats up women, tends to be a racist, and hates gays... and horror of horror smokes. But he does have a turbulent broth of family relationships to deal with!

This could be an echo of real life as Martin Amis had a troubled relationship with his father Kingsley Amis. Who incidentally was critical of the device of having the author as a character in the story which allows Martin to take some sly digs at the pretensions of writers and writing.

John Self meets a producer in New York and spins him a story based on his own life (drunkard father, two timing mother, time waster son) and is then embroiled in the nightmare of putting the money, script and casting together. He lurches between New York and London loving money and suffering from excesses of drink, food and sex and looses girlfriend, friends and family along the way in a glorious buffoon way.

As he tries to deal with actor's egos, money men demands and scripts he is also hounded by a stalker . Or is he? We can only understand what john understands and as he is drinking several bottles of whiskies on week long benders he is a little hazy some times on the details. During the story we get to find out what the truth of his rise to the Money as well as family secrets and who cheats who.

As the novel is set up to be a long suicide note you can sense the depths of his pain. So is this a gloomy, slash your wrist Leonard Cohen fun feast? No it's a very funny and savage satire on money, money and money and oh the film industry. Normally, I dislike first person novels but I strongly recommended this one.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grubby stuff, 11 Aug 2006
By 
Room For A View - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Amis's punchy narrative, infused with colloquial wordplay and urban street talk, complements his hero's (the intriguingly named John Self) socially schizophrenic lifestyle. Self is launched into the money rich pseudo reality of the film industry bumping backwards and forwards between the pub based childhood memories of his London origins and a New York fantasy world of strip joints and intoxication. I found the author's style highly engaging, packed with comic material (fruit machine rage, junk food diets, Martin Amis) and themes of a dark cynical nature. I enjoyed the historical backdrop: allusions to the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in contrast to news of serious rioting in London. The characters inhabiting both urban settings are hilarious, scheming, self-indulgent egotists and caricatures of attention seeking celebrity, society's misfits and money obsessed grifters. And how I laughed! I had to put the book down on several occasions due to passages such as the one describing Self's driving paranoia. This was the first Amis I had read and it took me a few pages to get on the right `wavelength' and enjoy the rhythm of Amis's literary style. For Self the status and prestige bought by money and the blinkered desire to have money are shown to be a destructive cycle of self inflicted physical and mental abuse, sexploitation and violence. I don't think Self is a nice person but his story is deeply funny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amis the Arrogant, 18 Aug 2013
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
After being utterly enthralled by Martin Amis' Time's Arrow; a novel that employs a backwards time-travelling storyline, something that I had never previously come across, yet was totally enamoured with, I was slightly apprehensive about embarking on his novel Money. The reason for this being that after reading just one of his novels, I had already decided that I liked Amis as an author a lot, and didn't wish for Money to ruin that for me.

Anyway, I saw sense and delved into Money and consequently the life of John Self and his sex/drug/alcohol-scattered pathway to ruin. It's hard for me to pin-down my feelings towards John Self, as I think it's almost too easy to dislike him. Admittedly, he has a number of negative attributes: he's violent towards both men and women; uses money in order to keep hold of a relationship; has what can only be described as a gross eating habit; and perhaps the only thing he does more than consuming junk food is drinking obscene amounts of alcohol.

Yet despite all this, and so much more, I still find myself feeling sorry for the character more than disliking him. Perhaps it's due to the fact that he keeps a relatively positive outlook on his life, even when he's been cheated of all of his money by one of the closest people to him, as well as having met all sorts of other bad luck along the way. Obviously you have to ignore his attempt at suicide, as that was clearly a low-point for him, but besides that incident he puts on a comparatively brave-face. For me, this makes him more of a likeable character, by not dwelling, but simply accepting his fate. Maybe he knew all along he was heading for destruction? It's possible that deep down he was aware that the type of lifestyle he was living could not go on, and had to eventually come to an end.

My views on the protagonist remain undecided, yet one matter I am certain upon is the part that the author has to play in the novel. Amis' inclusion of his real-life self into the storyline is something that I can deem only to be unashamed arrogance. Although initially I have to say that I found it quite a novel (excuse the pun) idea, and enjoyed the small part that this elusive Martin Amis character had to play, this did not last long.

Indeed, it is when Martin is commissioned to re-write the film script in the novel that the self-praise begins. After this point in the novel, Martin's character goes from strength to strength. He even begins to play the part of a counsellor for John Self who is quickly descending into gloom, as well as acting as an unexpected detective by managing to work out how exactly he has lost of all his money. This not only enhances Martin's character, but also degrades John all the more; all in all serving to elevate the former, and, in my opinion, demonstrating Amis as an author to be all the more self-absorbed.

I don't know whether to believe that this is intended to be taken seriously by Amis, but it certainly is a somewhat risky plot-move to make. I'm unsure whether to commend him for his bold choice, or whether this would increase the size of his already very large head...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Money, it's always the money.", 7 Dec 2012
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
John Self isn't a very nice guy. He's a money-man who spends his time between London and New York doing what money-men do: making money. Or so we think. John drinks too much, watches too much pornography, gets too many massages, and winds up in too many fights. He's hedonism personified, with a touch of violence, so details are a little fuzzy. Are those contracts he's signing? Are his friends really his friends? Does he know what he's doing? We're not sure and neither is he. John fronts for B-movies and has to deal with flaky actors. He has a girlfriend named Selina and knows she's gouging him, but he's too pathetic to find someone else. Selina, by the way, isn't very nice either. No one is, and there's nobody to root for, but you keep reading anyway, bemused by John's hidebound worldview, his complete absence of culture, and his deep-seeded misanthropy. In short, our hero has no redeeming qualities, yet you want to know what happens to him, sometimes feel sorry for him, and hope he doesn't get what's coming to him. Why?

The book is fascinating because it's pushing 400 pages and, besides a few plot twists, not much happens. It's true that 50 pages could have been shaved, but things don't stay dull for long, oh no. There are rewards for pressing on. Amis knows you're being patient and where he's taking you. On p. 359, John, who's begun reading novels at the behest of a new love-interest, says, "Toward the end of a novel you get a floppy feeling. It may just be tiredness at turning the pages. People read so fast - to get to the end, to be shot of you. I see their problem. For how long do you immerse yourself in other lives? Five minutes, but not five hours. It's a real effort."

But it's not a real effort to read this book. It's witty, dark, hilarious, and exceedingly well-written. Amis is an incredible writer who creates culture where none exists, who paints scenes that few living writers can. And the awkward, deadpan humour is fantastic; very British, very funny. Some parts were so comical I reread them and laughed twice. Money might be the best postmodern novel out there. It's humorous, but serious; you laugh out loud, but it's deeply disturbing. And so it should be.

You've probably heard that Amis writes himself into this novel. His father, Kingsley Amis, also a novelist, tossed the manuscript across the room (and never read the book) when he'd seen what young Martin had done. But young Martin did it with great effect. Amis's character occasionally enters to perplex John Self even more; Amis (the character) is there during John's demise; he tries to warn John, but John won't listen. He only listens to money.

This was my third Amis novel. I read The Rachel Papers and Night Train, which were good, but Money is in a different league, and I've heard London Fields is even better. It must be something. I don't think Amis is known as a humourist; he should be. He's possibly more literary than anyone alive, yet the guffaws, intertwined with the darkness, just keep coming. Six stars.

Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for a rug re-think?, 27 Jan 2010
By 
Dave Gilmour's cat (on Dave Gilmour's boat) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
Martin Amis has never written better than he did in Money. This is his masterpiece. It's a savagely funny piece of satire that works on countless levels. The author's grasp of language is so subtle and masterful that it makes other writers' gifts look very basic indeed. This novel is good enough to change the way you see the world, from the central role of money in our lives (it's even more relevant since the global recession), to what you call your car (John Self's is a Fiasco) or your haircut (a rug re-think). Amis doesn't just show off with his dazzling prose. Instead, he rips into the sham that is the US film industry and the human tendency to use wealth to insulate ourselves from feelings. He also makes us examine how fiction works (there's a character called 'Martin Amis') and - without giving away the plot - gets deep into what makes up our identity, and, on a wider level, the Human Condition.

It's a great piece of work: funny, sad, horrifying and incredibly illuminating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin Amis continues to dazzle us with words, 23 Aug 2013
By 
Philip Mayo - See all my reviews
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Another tour-de-force of aggressive writing and commentary on the human condition. Excellent; his power with words is amazing, and he is very funny. An unmistakable style, all his own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money by Martin Amis, 5 Nov 2012
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
"I bought this book after reading a review of Good Thing, which I recently purchased, also set in the 1980s, comparing the style of Martin Amis. I have not been disappointed.

Money is a story of decadence and excess, chronicling the demise of an Advertising executive turned Movie Director, who is commissioned to direct a high budget movie in the US. The anti-hero John Self is addicted to alcohol and pornography, and is as unpleasant a character as you are ever likely to meet, but it is impossible not to feel some sympathy for his plight as you witness his dreams crash and burn. It is also impossible not to laugh out loud at some of the unlikely predicaments.

The pace is fast and furious, like the transatlantic lifestyle of John Self, and at the end of the read I felt exhausted! "
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Money: A Suicide Note
Money: A Suicide Note by Martin Amis (Paperback - 7 April 2005)
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