Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review - The Big Money

The Big Money is a very interesting and compelling novel that I'm glad to have read. It's actually the third book in the "USA Trilogy" following American culture through the first 3 decades of the 20th century (each novel covering one decade). The Big Money takes us through the 1920s.

The style is experimental and at times a little odd because of that. Had I not been reading this as part of a class or with some notes to help guide me, I'm certain I would have missed a lot of the nuances.

There are 4 different writing threads throughout the novel:
* Lives (actual story arcs of fictional characters)
* Biographies (mini-biographies of notable characters such as Ford, Hearst, and others)
* Newsreels (snippets from newspaper, radio, pop culture and other elements…pieced together poetically to convey a thought or thread)
* Camera Eye (commentary on what's going on…a sort of personal context outside of the story)

The way the novel is pieced together is very intriguing and made for fun reading. It provides some very interesting insights into what social, political and cultural life was like during this timeframe. The size and content can certainly be daunting, but the presentation is in bite-sized chunks which makes it more manageable. Still, I would recommend you pay close attention and perhaps have a quick link to wikipedia or other reference material in order to get the full perspective.

4 out of 5 stars

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