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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now you write about people like us
Novelist/columnist Dominick Dunne died in the August of this last year, leaving behind a legacy of reporting on the uppermost circles of American society.

And he doesn't disappoint in his final roman à clef, a gilded look into the unseen world at the top of New York, where scandals and crimes swim under the glimmering surface. But "Too Much Money" could...
Published on 16 Dec 2009 by E. A Solinas

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little bit sloppy
I have always been a huge fan of Dominick Dunne's, from his articles in Vanity Fair to his potboiler novels. I do have to say, however, that I was a bit disappointed in this, his final book. The plummy prose is still there, but the story line doesn't work in all cases. It's as if Dominick Dunne tried to push everything he has ever known in his entire life into the 400+...
Published on 29 Mar 2010 by Karlis Streips


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now you write about people like us, 16 Dec 2009
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Too Much Money (Hardcover)
Novelist/columnist Dominick Dunne died in the August of this last year, leaving behind a legacy of reporting on the uppermost circles of American society.

And he doesn't disappoint in his final roman à clef, a gilded look into the unseen world at the top of New York, where scandals and crimes swim under the glimmering surface. But "Too Much Money" could easily be called "Portrait of an Artist Who Knows the End is Near" -- the main character is pretty much identical to Dunne himself in his final years, and there's a poignant bite to his last quiet quest for the truth.

Gus Bailey has had a rough two years, especially since a corrupt politician (suspected in the death of an intern) is suing him for libel because of a careless mistake. So he's focusing on a pet project he's wanted to work on for years -- "An Infamous Woman," about the philanthropist Perla Zacharias and the mysterious, suspicious death of her husband Konstantin. However, Perla isn't about to take this lying down -- and she'll unleash filthy rumors, spying, and whatever else it takes to keep all her skeletons in the closet.

While this is going on, society is undergoing shifts both subtle and massive. The infamous Elias Renthal is being released from prison, and he and his wife are beginning a crusade to reenter polite society; a genteel old-guard matron finds herself "downsized" from her life of grandeur, but is offered a new chance; and a charming, light-fingered gay "walker" wends his way onto the trains of wealthy women. Some will rise, some will fall, and Gus Bailey will see it all.

Dunne was dying when he wrote "Too Much Money," and it shows -- there's a slight roughness to his prose, and the whole "suspicious death of Konstantin" is wrapped up in a limp, unsatisfactory manner (seriously, WHAT HAPPENED?). It's a credit to Dunne's skill that his final book is nevertheless an engaging one -- he writes sleek, elegant prose riddled with genteel charm and dignity, and a poignant look at a once exalted slice of New York's society.

Of course, there's also a healthy dose of scandal and crime shielded behind false names, lots of lush descriptions of how the wealthy live and maintain their exalted status ("It's supposed to overpower a room. That's the point of owning a Canaletto"), and how elegantly-dressed nouveau riche can supplant the old Auchinclossian aristocracy. And Dunne takes a hard, piercing look at what makes a life truly worth living, rather than an empty one of fair-weather friends and parties.

But the heart of this book is ultimately Gus. He IS Dunne in his waning years: an elderlywriter with a dead daughter and two sons, who is loved for his wit and loathed for his roman à clef novels. He's even sued for libel by a corrupt politician involved in an intern's disappearance (sound familiar?).

He's also a likable, humble man who is bent but not broken by the temper tantrums of his rich enemies, and determined to ferret out the truth even if he has to anger the third-richest woman in the world. There's also a pretty colorful gang of supporting characters -- genteel society matrons escorted by their charming gay "walkers," a Wall Street businessman and his "trashy" wife, kindly Irish cooks, and the screeching, icy-cold Perla (who seems determined to hide... something we never quite see).

"Too Much Money" sputters at the end of Gus's years-long quest to reveal the truth, but the journey is what makes Dominick Dunne's final novel a good (if flawed) read. Farewell, Mr. Dunne -- you will be missed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cryptoautobiography, 23 Feb 2010
This review is from: Too Much Money (Hardcover)
Dunne makes no pretense about writing fiction that is largely based on real people and events, and in this book it is quite an interesting game to figure out who is who. Several characters are rather easily distinguished but others are more difficult. One gets the feeling that he has an excellent memory for dialogue, a skill reminiscent of Truman Capote who claimed greater than ninety percent recall. Capote also wrote about the same strata of society and received a similar sort of backlash. Anyway from Gus Bailey the writer to the billionaire Elias Renthal in and out of a "facility" and his beautiful, shoot-straight-from-the-hip wife Ruby, the interactions between people keep you turning the pages whether you want to or not. Most of the action takes place in New York City. Sometimes I felt I shouldn't be so fascinated by these rich people frequently demonstrating snobby and superficial values but I was. Sex and gossip, social climbing and money rule in this book. It's a fun and quick read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little bit sloppy, 29 Mar 2010
By 
Karlis Streips (Riga, Latvia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Too Much Money (Hardcover)
I have always been a huge fan of Dominick Dunne's, from his articles in Vanity Fair to his potboiler novels. I do have to say, however, that I was a bit disappointed in this, his final book. The plummy prose is still there, but the story line doesn't work in all cases. It's as if Dominick Dunne tried to push everything he has ever known in his entire life into the 400+ pages of "Too Much Money." The parallels to real people are quite unmistakable -- Adele Harcourt is obviously Brooke Astor. There is a television interviewer who must be based on Barbara Walters. The cases to which Dunne referred in "A Season in Purgatory," "The Two Mrs Grenvilles," "An Inconvenient Woman" and "People Like Us" -- all liberally referenced in "Too Much Money" -- were based on real events and real people, as was the fire in a villa in Biarritz which is a central element in this last book. My problems with the book are, first of all, that it is repetitive. How many times does one really need to read that Ruby Renthal has a coat with sable cuffs? Second, dialogue in the book is sometimes unconvincing. If you find someone having a stroke in a public bathroom, no matter how much you dislike that person, are you really going to say "You've pissed all over that six-thousand-dollar suit you're wearing"? The cost of people's clothing and handbags is a fixation in this novel. And, third, the book really should be called "Too Much Money: An Autobiography of Dominick Dunne." His alter-ego, Gus Bailey, is all over the map here, conveniently happening to be at all of the places where things happen ("Such things always happen to me"). There is the story of Gus's (Dominick's) slander suit involving a congressman and a young woman. The central story of Gus's conflict with Perla Zacharias is finished quite unconvincingly, and one of the final lines in the book, "And the cancer, well, he would think about that another day" -- Scarlett O'Hara anyone? I read the book in two sittings. Unlike some of Dunne's previous novels, I'm not sure that I'll be reading it again. But God rest his table-hopping, name-dropping soul. He was surely one of a kind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an intriguing read, 11 Sep 2010
By 
Jmm Taylor (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Too Much Money (Hardcover)
This can hardly be called a roman a clef - you dont need the "clef". The disclaimer at the front that says the characters are fictional is nonsense. This gives the book the quality of good gossip, much of it scurrilous. I enjoyed it very much..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four stars...or five?, 12 Mar 2010
By 
Jill Meyer (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Too Much Money (Hardcover)
I've loved Dunne's writing all these years, from his columns in Vanity Fair to his many novels along the way. "People Like Us" was always a particular favorite of mine. I always thought it was better than Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities", which was released at about the same time and was about the same strata of NYC society - the "titans of Wall Street" and their "Social X-ray" wives.

"Too Much Money" is about the same characters, updated a few years or so, and beginning with Elias Renthal's release from prison, i.e. "the facility" and Adele Harcourt's death, at the age of 105. A famous slander case that the real Dominick Dunne was involved in is a large part of the novel, as well as his on-going battle with one of the wealthiest widows in the world over her husband's suspicious death in Monte Carlo. Like Dominick Dunne, Gus Bailey was diagnosed with cancer and his treatment is also part of the story. As are the incidental characters, maids, chauffeurs, press people, society "walkers"; auxiliary people who Dunne draws with a wicked, but, at times, sympathetic pen.

And the most interesting part of the book is that I think Dominick Dunne "outs" himself. I won't give the part away but it seemed almost as if Dunne confesses something he has long wanted to say, but maybe couldn't until he faced death.

Was the writing great? No, it wasn't "five star" great - it was "four star" - but, in honor of the man's last work, and the honesty in writing it, I'm giving it "five stars". Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars arrived promptly from the usa, 20 Sep 2012
By 
H. Page "H" (Guildford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Too Much Money (Audio CD)
The vendor shipped promptly from the usa an audio book i could not get in the usa so i am very pleased
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Dominick Dunne, 2 April 2012
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This review is from: Too Much Money (Paperback)
Too Much Money is Vintage Dunne! Dunne is definitely in the same mold as wonderful Edith Wharton, capturing the essence of the 'old money' crowd and what they stand for and expect from those breaking into their society chambers.
Dunne does this all, masterfully, in his great goodbye gift, Too Much Money.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Feb 2011
This review is from: Too Much Money (Paperback)
I am very much disappointed by this book. There is very little intrigue, it is repetitive (the cost of the caracters' clothes and homes, their addresses, stories regarding their past, etc) to the maximum, and boring. Also, while this is supposed to be a sort of mystery (how exactly did Konstantin Zacharias die, after all?), we learn nothing about it. I would say that this is a snapshot of New York's high society, as most of D.D.'s books are. But if you have read one, you have read them all.
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Too Much Money
Too Much Money by Dominick Dunne (Paperback - 28 Sep 2010)
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