Ordinary Money

Louis B. Jones, Author Viking Books $18.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-670-82856-2
Set in California's Marin County, this offbeat novel begins when Randy Potts, a bitter divorce and carpenter, is given $20 million in counterfeit bills by an unlicensed cosmetic surgeon who then vanishes without a trace. Stashing some of the cash in the garage of his buddy Wayne, an out-of-work housepainter, Randy buys a house, a Ferrari and a custom-built hot tub. Wayne, who thinks the crate in his garage contains pots and pans, has a pregnant wife and a mountain of debt he's trying to reduce through a pyramid-sales scheme. The dichotomies of genuine vs. counterfeit, substance vs. surface are a bit overdrawn. We learn, for example, that Wayne's teenage daughter Kim has an artificial nipple and ear due to birth defects, while the supporting cast includes a blind lawyer and an ``installation artist'' who was once an Andy Warhol groupie. Still, Jones's gracefully written, often zany debut satirizes a culture in which the fake is worshipped as real. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-014531-1
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