Saturday, 11 December 2010

Money by Martin Amis

So I started reading Koba the Dread, and now I'm reviewing Money. Not sure how that happened.

It's one of those "prick in the 80s" novels and concerns a drunken boor called John Self who's made his name in advertising and is now making a movie which seems to be loosely based on his relationship with his horrible father, which might be based on Amis' own relationship with his father Kingsley. Self jets between London and New York getting monstrously drunk and getting into scrapes, while trying to handle a bunch of insane stars he's trying to sign up for the film. He also meets an author called Martin Amis, who ends up writing the script for his movie. Oh yes, it's postmodern.

The writing's very strong, managing to be funny and heartbreaking even while narrated by a moron like Self, and some of the scenes are fantastic, especially those with the actors. And the ending's very satisfying, how it all comes together.

But I didn't love it. I have no problem with an unpleasant lead character (like, say, Stalin) but there's no forward momentum with Self. He's not after money -he's got more coming in than he knows what to do with - and he's pretty generous with it. He doesn't even seem to care about the film. Self's a little more interested in the women in his life, but since they're all either saints or whores, I was unconvinced. He's an entertaining character, but a boring one, if that makes sense.

I think I would've liked this a lot more if I'd read this in my teens, but I found it a little dated. An interesting side point - Self's supposed addiction to pornography. Very quaint by today's standards!

Shout out to the narrator of this audiobook Steven Pacey, who does a great job. And I've since found out he's sci-fi royalty - he played Tarrant in Blake's Seven.

I've got some more of Koba the Dread to read, but I've got caught up in another massive science fiction - Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds (I reviewed his Galactic North a while back) and I'm listening to a trashy novel about Caligula which is suprisingly good.


Bryce said...

Maybe the porn is just quaint by your standards?

Joe said...

My tastes are best described as sophisticated. I've given it up anyway. I've learnt that it's as degrading to myself as it is to the shemales.