Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Opening Sentence of the Day: Sometimes a Great Notion

This is why I do not make New Year's resolutions -- here it is only the 7th of January and I already forgot the half-hearted resolution I made to record the first lines of the books I read in 2009. Better late than never:
Along the western slopes of the Oregon Coastal Range . . . come look: the hysterical crashing of tributaries as they merge into the Wakonda Auga River . . .
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey (ellipses in original).

Review: Money

Martin Amis’s Money is a stumbling, swirling, sodden romp though the protagonist’s brain. As anti-hero John Self bounces back and forth between London and New York, pursuing a questionable movie deal, he spins the hilarious tale of his drunken, pornographic life.

Comparisons to Kinglsey Amis’s Lucky Jim are inevitable, as both are comic novels dealing with sad-sack, affable drunks. Where Lucky Jim is charming, with likable characters and a coherent plot, Money is chaotic, with abrasive characters and a shaggy, almost stream-of-conscience plot. Money is also a little longer than it needs to be (it gets repetitive) and uses a few post-modern tricks that are too cheeky for my taste (Martin Amis is a character, for example).

But what makes Money worth reading is that it is funny. Sometimes it is laugh-out-loud funny. That, and the feeling that John Self is not quite the ogre he makes himself out to be, keeps the pages turning.


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