<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I just threw a book across the table in disgust--literally threw. It spun around a few times before coming to a stop. The book in question is Martin Amis' Money: A Suicide Note, which I started reading this morning and have read off and on throughout the day. My original opinion of the work was that it's a novel of unmitigated pretentiousness, self-indulgence and crap. Put simply: an overwhelming bit of bullshit. But I can deal with that; I've read stories about disgusting, gluttonous, self-absorbed, middle-aged alcoholics before, I've waded my way through tales of runaway capitalist greed. I don't even vaguely enjoy these things, but I've read them. And so I kept wading.

But my feeling of disgust grew, even knowing that this character was supposed to be revolting, being perfectly aware that I was to find his character repellant. That's clearly the author's intention, and congratulations, Martin Amis, it worked. But by the time I hit the line about how "this was a woman worth raping," worth doing the time in jail for--what does it matter, you can watch TV all day anyway--I'd had it.

And I threw it.

I DO NOT want to read this kind of bullshit, and you know what? I'm not going to. Class be damned. I'll say all of this to the professor if need be; I am not reading any more.

Part of my brain is trying to play devil's advocate: "You read The Painted Bird," it says, "the whole damn book. Surely this is no worse." And it's true: The Painted Bird was all kinds of nasty, running the gamut from violent murder to torture to bestiality, and I'm going to sell the damn thing as soon as the semester ends. But the thing is, that book was a reaction against all those things, a book written to express pain and outrage and dehumanization, to show the evil that is part of every human being's self.

Perhaps Money is a book about redemption. Frankly I don't care. The back dust jacket calls it "Ceaselessly inventive and thrillingly savage"; the reviewer for Guardian declared it to be "terribly, terminally funny." I say: bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Maybe it's just this unrelenting headache talking, but this is the first book that I own that I'd like to put through a shredder.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 8:15 PM


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