Monday, January 23, 2012

Money (by Martin Amis)

Y'all know how I feel about the unreliable narrator, right? Can't get enough of him! This unreliable narrator, John Self, is basically drunk through the entirety of this novel, which makes the narration hilarious, but also leaves holes in the text. He objectifies women to a horrifying degree, is slightly racist, is monstrously self-centered, and yet somehow is still funny and somehow sympathetic? In a weird way?

The novel has a lot going on, with super symbolic names (like "John Self") and with the author, Martin Amis, showing up as a character in the novel and apologizing for tormenting his characters (of course, while John Self is in the middle of being tormented by various events) and then not to give too much away, but at the end, as often happens with unreliable narrators, the reader finds out what's been going on between the lines of the book all along.

This book is laugh-out-loud funny, pretty dirty, brilliantly written, with some terrific observations about our consumer culture. And I bookmarked so many quotes I don't even know where to start. If you don't mind super-penisy novels (and I think you know where you fall on the penisy novel spectrum) this one really, really works.

Now the way I figured it I had six realistic options. I could sack out right away, with some scotch and a few Serafim. I could go back to the Happy Isles and see what little Moby was up to. I could call Doris Arthur. I could catch a live sex show around the corner, in bleeding Seventh Avenue. I could go out and get drunk. I could stay in and get drunk.

In the end I stayed in and got drunk. The trouble was, I did all the other things first. Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It's passing, yet I'm the one who is doing all the moving. I'm not the station, I'm not the stop: I'm the train. I'm the train.

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