Mr. Dunne left behind one last, stinging roman à clef. And he most assuredly used it to settle scores. Too Much Money pits his autobiographical character, Gus Bailey, against the New York nouveau riche types of its title. And it keeps Gus constantly aghast at their gall. It commemorates Mr. Dunne's favorite obsessionscrime, wealth, status, backbiting and powerinto a story with a distinctly valedictory flavor
The New York Times
For every striver who claws his way to the top of the moneyed heap, another must fall from grace to make room; in the work of late novelist and journalist Dunne (1925-2009), those falls are usually preceded by a vigorous shove. In his final novel, the players include grande dame Lil Altemus, banking heiress (and suspected murderess) Perla Zacharias, and flight attendant-turned-jetsetter Ruby Renthal, alongside journalist Gus Bailey (Dunne's minimally-fictionalized surrogate). A sequel to 1988's People Like Us based on Dunne's real-life experiences as a society crime writer, Dunne brings an expected level of intimacy to his unflattering look at New York's wealthiest citizens, incorporating his own spectacular Hollywood fall from grace and subsequent comeback, as well as his legal standoff with a congressman whom Dunne implicated in the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy. A fitting cap to Dunne's notable career, this novel is more parody than satire-populated by jeer-worthy caricatures hard to sympathize with-but proves to be a compulsively readable diversion, showcasing Dunne's razor wit and furious disdain for those who believe that laws apply to everyone but themselves.
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A vindictive multibillionairess tries to suppress a seasoned raconteur's lust for life, not to mention his tell-all new novel, in this posthumous roman a clef by Dunne, who died of cancer in August 2009. Dunne's narrator (and alter ego) Augustus Bailey writes for glossy gossip magazine Park Avenue and pens bestselling novels and "true crime" starring the globe's most glittering grandees. A born confidante, "Gus" attracts secrets like Beluga draws partygoers, but he can be a blabbermouth. On the radio, he blithely blurts a preposterous rumor implicating Congressman Kyle Cramden in the disappearance of Cramden's lovely intern, provoking an $11 million slander lawsuit. Gus, 84, fears the litigation will bankrupt the estate he hopes to leave his children. His only hope is Infamous Lady, his novel-in-progress, which dredges up the nagging questions still surrounding the death of ALS-afflicted superbanker Konstantin Zacharias in a fire at his Biarritz villa. Zacharias' widow Perla was never a suspect, and she'd like to keep it that way. Now the third richest woman in the world, Perla has the "too much money" of the title: enough to eliminate any threats to her reputation by far less civil means than lawsuits. Like having Gus tailed by a man in gray flannel, pressuring his publisher to scuttle Infamous Lady and digging up a bogus allegation of pederasty to blackmail Gus into settling the Cramden suit. Stress dampens Gus's joie de vivre, and he's no longer everyone's favorite bavardeur at society functions peopled by disinherited socialites, ex-convict financiers, centenarian doyennes and declassee divas. Gus's dilemmas find too-easy solutions, because Gus, as did, perhaps, his creator, realizesthat imminent mortality trivializes one's worst fears, that life is too short not to speak truth to power, and that he'll be somewhere money and revenge can't reach when his last novel comes out. On full display here, Dunne's (Another City, Not My Own, 1997, etc.) jaded eye for the foibles of the ultraspoiled, his stylish wit and eavesdropper's ear-they are among the many reasons he is sorely missed.
"The only person writing about high society from inside the aquarium." —Tina Brown
"Readers mourned Dunne's passing in August 2009, bereft at the thought of life without his keen novels and incisive Vanity Fair profiles...But Dunne grants us one more good read...[his] glittering high-society satire harbors sorrow at its heart as [his] burdened hero ponders his secrets and regrets."—Booklist
"On full display here, Dunne's jaded eye for the foibles of the ultraspoiled, his stylish wit and eavesdropper's earthey are among the many reasons he is sorely missed."—Kirkus Reviews
“A savagely honest presentation of the upper echelons of New York City society . . . none of whom escape Dunne’s sharp gaze.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Juicy high-society soap opera.”—Los Angeles Times
“Familiar turf for Dunne fans . . . a fun romp . . . Pull up a chair at Swifty’s, order some Champagne, and enjoy.”
“A last delicious dish on the rich and famous [Dunne] knew and loved to skewer so well.”
—The Boston Globe