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Bookmarks Issue: 
45-Mar-Apr-2010
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A-TooMuchMoneyDominick Dunne, who died last fall at 83, is the author of The Two Mrs. Grenvilles (1985), A Season in Purgatory (1993), and Another City, Not My Own (1997). He was a longtime correspondent for Vanity Fair, specializing in high-profile celebrity trials.

The Story: In this follow up to his best-selling novel People Like Us, Dunne revisits the glittery, pampered world of Manhattan’s elite social class. Gus Bailey, whose life parallels Dunne’s, writes for a high-society glossy and is working on a book about the mysterious death of billionaire Konstantin Zacharias. Bailey’s efforts to complete the book are continuously foiled: by a slander lawsuit, a cancer diagnosis, and Zacharias’s social-climbing widow, Perla. Amid the chaos of Bailey’s personal and professional lives, Dunne offers his trademark observations of a world occupied by people with entirely too much money.
Crown. 288 pages. $26. ISBN: 9780609603871

Boston Globe 4 of 5 Stars
"Dominick Dunne leaves his fans with a last delicious dish on the rich and famous he knew and loved to skewer so well. … The novel feels more like a farewell than a satiric examination of large or even petty crimes, Dunne’s typical modus operandi." Judy Budz

Chicago Sun-Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Lighter on its feet and more stiletto-sharp than People Like Us, the new novel, completed shortly before Dunne’s death in August, is a breezily orchestrated comedy of the ridiculous. … Dunne aligns characters with a Dickensian flair." Lloyd Sachs

San Francisco Chronicle 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Dunne shows a little more affection for his subjects than Capote, but not that much. … After you finish his portrayal of the very rich, you may somehow be satisfied with the knowledge of just how poorly they live." Alan Cheuse

USA Today 3 of 5 Stars
"[T]hough somewhat predictable—rich people and their followers are often mean, manipulative and spoiled!—it’s a fun romp nonetheless." Craig Wilson

Los Angeles Times 2 of 5 Stars
"The writing lacks the wit that Dunne was known for. Instead, it reads like an episode of Knot’s Landing, repeating information for readers who might have not been paying enough attention between paragraphs, as if they were separated by commercial breaks." Carolyn Kellogg

Entertainment Weekly 2 of 5 Stars
"Sadly, Dunne’s writing isn’t nearly as rich and elegant as his subjects. Too Much Money is like a high-society dinner party—it promises glitz and excitement, but devolves into something of a bore." Kate Ward

Critical Summary

Most of the characters maligned in Dunne’s books are truly awful: greedy, self-absorbed, and just plain mean. Most of all, they are based on actual people, which accounts for much of the fun in reading Too Much Money. Several critics enjoyed the novel’s dry humor and dead-on observations as Dunne touches on one absurdity after another. Others, however, panned it as a tedious soap opera. Still, for readers who enjoyed Dunne’s previous novels, memoirs, and essays, there is much to savor within the pages of his final work. Readers new to Dunne’s work may ask themselves if the world that occupied much of Dunne’s writing career has lost its relevance in today’s culture of West Coast, self-made technology billionaires and the lost fortunes suffered by some of New York’s elite.