Narrative Unreliability in Martin Amis' Money

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In Money: A Suicide Note Martin Amis describes the life of John Self, an extremely successful filmmaker of TV adverts who takes part in the materialist game characterising the society of the 1980s. The protagonist is addicted to the 20th century, where he leads a careless life based on a daily abundance of drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, handjobs and the porn industry. However, this addiction leaves its marks on the body and character of John Self. His physical as well as social health slowly deteriorate while Self is unable (and unwilling) to get off his never-ending trip. For him life seems to be mainly a holiday, and a very expensive one indeed. Only far too late does he realise the dark sides of a lifestyle depending fully on money,…show more content…
First of all, it is justified to claim that one of the reasons for John Self's own unreliability lies in the fact that he himself is sometimes not aware of certain aspects of the story. Therefore, it is only a logical consequence, and by no means part of Self's intention, that the reader is not properly informed about what is going on at several points of the novel. For example, the dubious existence of his antagonists Frank the Phone and the red-haired woman who seems to follow Self almost everywhere are out of his own understanding. Consequently, he cannot offer the reader a plausible explanation for their motivation. In the end, it is the Martin Amis character of the novel, who sees through Fielding Goodney's insidious plot, identifies John Self's partner as being both Frank the Phone and the red-haired woman and informs Self as well as the reader about his partner's real intentions. As a result of his own lack of knowledge, John Self is simply unable to grasp the real connection between certain elements of the story, and thus the readers have to figure out many things by themselves. Another incident, where John Self is rather clueless regarding the truth, is when it comes to his girlfriend Selina Street and her questionable faithfulness. Thanks to one of his friends, Self knows very early in the novel that she is cheating on him but he is simply unable to establish the identity of her new lover. Finally, it is Selina herself who tells him about her
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