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Christie Malrys Own Double Entry [Paperback]

B Johnson


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Book Description

May 25 2001 0330484826 978-0330484824 3rd edition, revised

Christie Malry is a simple person. Born into a family without money, he realised early along in the game that the best way to come by money was to place himself next to it. So he took a job as a very junior bank clerk in a very stuffy bank. It was at the bank that Christie discovered the principles of double-entry book keeping, from which he evolved his Great Idea. For every offence Christy henceforth received at the hands of a society with which he was clearly out of step, a debit must be noted; after which, society would have to be paid back appropriately, so that the paper credit would accrue to Christy`s account. Now made into a film starring Nick Moran of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fame. Acerbic yet funny, this is a novel which, even as it provokes laughter, will alarm and disturb as well. `A most gifted writer` - Samuel Beckett. `The future of the novel depends on people like B.S. Johnson` - Anthony Burgess. `Mr. Johnson has undoubtedly written a masterpiece. ` - Auberon Waugh. `Delightful to read, highly amusing, and clever. ` - " Daily Telegraph. "


Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: PAN Macmillan Adult; 3rd edition, revised edition (May 25 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330484826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330484824
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #837,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Beautifully constructed, funny and poignant, Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry is regarded as B.S. Johnson's most humorous book but it is a dark, sly humour predicated on the distaste Johnson had for an oppressive post-war British society (an oppression he delineates brilliantly in The Unfortunates).

Christie is, we are told, a simple man, who works in a bank alongside, but excluded from, money. He moves from the bank to learn Double-Entry Bookkeeping in a firm called Tappers, where his disillusionment deepens leading to his Great Idea: he decides to use the principles of Double-Entry (an Aggravation column for offences caused to him, a Recompense column detailing his revenge) to settle his accounts with society.

Johnson (1933-1973), a forgotten hero of the British avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s (he committed suicide when he was not yet 40), wrote seven wonderful novels that echo Joyce and Beckett in their intelligence, inventiveness and genius for language. The books, full of the kind of typographical innovations so beloved of the concrete poets, have been largely ignored since Johnson killed himself but more than deserve to be looked at again; writers as skilled as Johnson are very few and far between indeed. --Mark Thwaite --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'Delightful to read, highly amusing, and clever' Daily Telegraph 'Johnson has undoubtedly written a masterpiece' Auberon Waugh 'The most accessible, exuberant and despairing of all his works' John Lanchester --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An angry satire but not Johnson's best June 22 2001
By "scottish_lawyer" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
BS Johnson is one of those experimental writers, controversial during their lives that subsequently vanishes from print. Johnson was a journalist, a socialist, and a fine novelist. Best known for The Unfortunates (his book in a box where every chapter is separately bound and the reader is invited to read them in any order he or she wishes), Christie Malry's Own Double Entry is perhaps his most accessible novel.
However, this "accessibility" is in the midst of a studiedly experimental text. This is a corruscating satire in which Johnson targets one of the symbols of capitalism, the double entry system. The very basis of accountancy, and the manipulation of finance, Johnson turns this building block on its head as his central character, Christie Malry, a young man with a future, decides that he will live his life accoridng to the principles of double entry.
Johnson's novel has acute observations on a variety of issues in British life that still merit comment. How working class people come to vote conservative, the manner in which people's worth is measured financially; and all of this is in the midst of an angry satire where Malry wreaks vengeance on the system. It is a bitter cycnical novel, with a dark wit.
There is love, sex, and death; and an unusual use for shaving foam. And all of this is presented in a slightly distant way, where Johnson continually turns to the reader and winks, letting you know this is a novel. Characters are aware of their place in fiction, and Johnson deconstructs the novel to let you see how it works.
This description may be off putting, but this is classy fiction. It is funny, and angry. I enjoyed this work, but preferred Johnson's The Unfortunates; which I feel has more depth, and more humanity.
If you enjoyed this you may like Graham Greene's Dr Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party or Michael Dibdin's Dirty Tricks (a Thatcherite satire).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best comic novel of all time March 7 1999
By qttick@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read Christie Malry's Own Double Entry when I was about 15 - I got it from the local library as it is generally out of print in the UK, a tribute to British library services in the 1970s and no tribute to British publishing at any time - and I had never, and still haven't ever, read anything like it. Its "experimental" qualities - distancing, irony, the extraordinary ending - descend from Laurence Sterne and all that but Johnson's tone - political, cynical and above all very funny - was all his own. Christie Malry should have been the first in a line of great novels instead of the last. With luck, Johnson fan and influencee Jonathan Coe's forthcoming biog and the reprint of The Unfortunates should see a mass reprint of Johnson's work that will overwhelm the cack-faced sludge of manky novels about people with trust funds pretending to be interesting in West London.
David Quantick, London March 6 1999
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden treasure Dec 16 1998
By DWyatt3657@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a small gem of a book by an underappreciated writer (1933-73). The short novel centers around a simple man who decides to live his life according to the principles of Double-Entry Bookkeeping, which he adapts in startling ways to settle his accounts with society. Johnson liked to experiment with fictional forms; here, as in his handful of other works, he plays games with the reader, mocking and fragmenting the traditional novel. That sort of thing can easily drop into post-modernist preciousness, but the book is redeemed by Johnson's mordant, unsparing wit. The book's back cover even includes praise from the notoriously exacting Samuel Beckett. I hope you'll agree with Sam and me that this is a wonderfully comic book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On getting your own back Feb. 23 2006
By rjanos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although those interested in experimental British novelist B.S. Johnson, who killed himself at the age of 40 in 1973, should probably begin reading this enigmatic writer with his second novel Albert Angelo, Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry is an imaginative black-comic tale of a bookkeeper's effort to take revenge on society for all perceived and real slights. The double-entry book described by the title is quite literal and its pages show up frequently throughout the book. The novel contains some of Johnson's most spirited comic writing and is a quick read (it can be read in two or three hours) once you know the main conceit--that of Christie's entry book and the bizarre nature of his entries. Oddly enough, this strange but wonderful novel might offer insight into a certain kind of terrorist mind--the Unabomber comes to mind. Incidentally, there's a wonderful new biography of B.S. Johnson by Jonathan Coe called Fiery Elephant. You might look there for further information and analysis of this wicked and fun novel. Some "tricks" used by Johnson in his other novels seem thin forty years later--The Unfortunates is a box novel and readers are encouraged to shuffle the chapters (with the exception of first and last)and read them in random order; Albert Angelo has a cut-out on the bottom of several pages ostensibly to let reader's see ahead to the future (on page 152!!!)--though Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry holds up rather nicely. Still I wish this very talented writer had spent less time coming up with sometimes dubious formal innovation (dubious not because they are insincere but because other authors seem to have beat BSJ to the punch)and just given us more of his often splendid wit and prose.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible work from an eccentric, clever author April 3 2004
By jeb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book felt like somewhere between an argumentative essay on the state of fiction and an actual story - but it was wound wondefully together. Managed to make me laugh out loud a few times, which I don't do very often when reading books; mostly because the author managed to twist things so violently away from what I was expecting to read.
Very self-referential, but somehow gets away with it completely. Original idea to write about, and an nteresting style of writing that made me want to go and discover more of his work.

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