Books: Business as Usual

JR

by WILLIAM GADDIS 726 pages. Knopf. $15 hardcover;

$5.95 paperback. "Money," said Gertrude Stein, "is always there but the pockets change; it is not in the same pockets after a change, and that is all there is to say about money." Stein, who did not have much to say about roses either, apparently meant that money—like gravity and magnetism—is so pervasive and anonymous that it needs no human inferences. Does a fish talk about water?

William Gaddis' long, satirical novel JR could well be a model of such a gestalt theory of money. For...

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