Book 763 Martin Amis – Money







First of all the above cover is from the first edition. Although I wish I had that version my edition of  Money is the Vintage 21 series, i also had an old Penguin version , but pages were falling out of that so I had to buy a new one.

This is my third reading of Money, once in 1999 and another time in 2001 and I admit its the best one. As I have stated before, I am amazed at the amount of things I missed out before.

John Self is a modern man in every way. He is selfish, materialistic and a full on hedonist. After cutting his chops in advertising he decides to direct a semi autobiographical film. After finding a producer and the right actors, Self launches himself into American life in the most debauched ways possible.

When he returns to England though he is more reserved ( thus Amis is showing us the difference between Reagan’s America and Thatcher’s Britain) and spends his nights having glorious sex with his girlfriend Selina.

Good things never last and soon Self starts to find his world crumbling down nastily and in series of twists (plus one very surprising one) loses everything and returns to London as a man ready to redeem himself.

Money is difficult to explain , its prose is utterly spell binding. Every single sentence has a punch to knock you flat , light puns , memorable sentences , funny observations. They are all here in a labyrinthine linguistic glory. However Money is not unreadable. I feel we’ve all met people like John Self  so we can relate to his modern worldview.  As a satire on the human self it is positively eye opening and even provides digs at the literary establishment.  Personally I think London Fields is a better novel but Money is the one (having read nearly all of Amis’ output) where Amis’ distinctive style emerges.

Book 841 Martin Amis – London Fields

Martin Amis is definitely one of my top authors. I love his wit, prose, plots everything. In fact reading early Amis ( I lost track of him after Yellow Dog) is like immersing yourself into some pleasure zone .

Weirdly enough when I read London Fields back in 2000 ( which was an apt year to read this novel) I hated it. I just found it pretentious and lacking in that Amis touch (although I liked the bikini segment)

How wrong I was!!

Until my second attempt I always held Money as Amis’ best novel but now I feel that London Fields surpasses it. I felt that it’s a more powerful book – and to a certain extent funnier as well.

The book is narrated by failing author Samson Young, who has luckily found the perfect plot for a novel. The astoundingly beautiful Nicola Six plans to kill herself on her 35th birthday. Through deception she enlists the help of Low life Keith Talent and middle class Guy Clinch to participate in this murder. It is also 1999 and the British army will be launching missiles to the Middle East and the Prime Minister’s wife is undergoing a serious operation. Not to mention that London is a hotspot for pollution and everything wrong with the world.

Eventually Nicola does get her wish but not how she plans it. Let’s say that Sam is an unreliable narrator and skewers the details a little bit.

Leaving the murder mystery aside, Amis’ writing just explodes. His remarks on social class, morals and the upcoming apocalypse are both terrifying and yet darkly funny. London Fields is a satire of the first degree but it’s also a very entertaining one as well.  A classic.