The fiction of money

By and

Money may, as some say, ultimately be a fiction, but it is rarely the subject of fiction. In Argentinian writer Alan Pauls' latest novel, however, it becomes the mouthpiece for recounting a family's disintegration, even as the country disintegrates into military dictatorship then economic chaos. Pauls, now widely translated into French but hardly at all into English, has delivered another Proustian tale using an unusual vehicle to reveal human foibles. Review by Dominique Conil and Sophie Dufau.

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Literature boldly explores sex, violence and power, but curiously enough, rarely looks closely at money as a vehicle and a prop for emotions. Novels may take extreme wealth or poverty as their theme, but filthy lucre itself – as object, source of daily worry, lovely crisp, clinking, jingling lolly, the currency that makes the world go round? Harder to find.