Confession: I never got into Lucky Jim like I expected to.
This was a novel I looked forward to since I first learned its premise. Lucky Jim is a short satirical novel. But despite its brevity, I took over a month to read it.
I just couldn’t ever “get into” Lucky Jim. I’d sit down to read and lose interest after about 10 pages. For a 250 page novel, that’s a lot of short reading spurts, which makes it difficult to stay in tune to a novel and its story.
But, finally, I finished the novel, and I report back to you today. Lucky Jim was mildly entertaining, somewhat dry, and somewhat reminiscent of Anthony Powell’s writing style (you might remember him from the dreadful A Dance To The Music of Time).
I’ll give it a C. Read more
Money is one of the wildest novels I’ve ever read. Pardon the literary cliché, but it’s a roller coaster ride from start to finish.
The novel is such a romp that I don’t even know where to start reviewing it.
Let’s just say that Money is told from the point of view of the classic unreliable narrator. John Self is a raging alcoholic. In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line to say that he is drunk through probably 90% of the novel.
He battles other addictions, like sex and cigarettes. At one point, Self even says, “Unless I specifically inform you otherwise, assume I am always smoking another cigarette.”
The man is a narcissistic basket case. He’s a jerk, a man of terrible morals, but Martin Amis almost, almost, almost makes you like him because of his sense of humor and self-awareness.
The Paris Review’s interview with Martin Amis has a load of great insight. It’s just another great one in their long series of outstanding author interviews.
I thought his answer to this question was particularly good:
Did Martin Amis predict the future?
A little bit, yes.
Let me introduce you to this passage about cuddling, yes cuddling, from Money:
This is so much better than my review of Animal Farm.
John Self is the protagonist in Money. I’ve already shared with you some of his pretty hilarious zingers. No doubt that Martin Amis is gifted with witty writing.
In the book, one of Self’s friends gives him a copy of Animal Farm. Self hates reading and routinely talks about his disdain of reading throughout the novel.
So, as an inexperienced reader, Animal Farm is completely over his head. The poor guy doesn’t even realize it’s an allegory.
If you can get past the “dirtiness” of this novel–and there’s a lot to get past–Money by Martin Amis is quite an entertaining book.
It’s one of the more quotable novels I’ve encountered on the list. It seems like there’s one zinger on every page.
The narrator, John Self, is a narcisstic jerk, a horrible person, but he will make you laugh. And because of that, it’s difficult not to like him at times.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes in the early pages of Money: