*I received a free copy of Dead Money from Central Avenue Publishing via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Dead Money by Srinath Adiga
Published by Central Avenue Publishing on January 26, 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
They said you can’t take your money with you when you die.
What if they were wrong? Srinath Adiga’s timely satire explores the pitfalls of modern capitalism and the dangerous power of myth.
Hong Kong, 2002. A stock market trader desperate to pay off a gangster debt invents a scam: Afterlife Dollars. A product inspired by an ancient Chinese custom that allows people to buy their way into heaven.
It’s the beginning of a dizzying chain reaction that ripples in Mumbai, where one man does the unthinkable to secure his afterlife—while thousands of miles away in Amsterdam, another man races against time to stop an apocalypse. As a cast of larger-than-life characters grapple with unprecedented moral dilemmas, their choices will affect the rest of humanity.
Profound, exhilarating and full of unexpected twists, Dead Money balances intelligence and dark humour with compassion, empathy and hope. Its cleverness lies in its ability to convince us that the impossible can happen—a compelling, thought-provoking read at a time when the world stares at an uncertain future.
I picked up Dead Money because the premise intrigued me. Those first few sentences of the synopsis reeled me in. I’m ever so glad I happened upon this masterful debut. Although Dead Money wasn’t always easy to sit with, it’s worth the time sitting with.
“How can you stop something that’s on a mission to destroy itself?”
-Theo, Loc 6278
In Dead Money, SAdiga deftly weaves together three stories in three locales with three different characters connected by one cleverly crafted over-arching plot. In the first story, set in Hong Kong, we meet a stock market trader and see the scary genius employed to create Afterlife Dollars. We’re also privy to the greed and corruption that led to its creation.
The second story, set in Mumbai, India, follows a 30 year old man with a terminal diagnosis. He buys into the safety and comfort that Afterlife Dollars will provide and is will to do ANYTHING to secure the funds to make that possible. Even, essentially, sell his soul.
The third story, set in The Netherlands, revolves around an investment banker whose life has been and will be affected by Afterlife Dollars in myriad ways.
SAdiga entwines race, class, religion, wealth, poverty, greed, politics, and economics to illustrate the folly and frailty of man. Afterlife Dollars prey upon human fears while fulfilling the desire of others to amass fortunes under any circumstance. And proves,
“…people became impervious to reason when they were under the spell of a con man.”
-Former Police Officer, Loc 4553
Dead Money is very relevant despite being written prior to 2020. I found it fascinating to examine our global culture and economy as well as the things we all share as humans. Your faith in humanity is going to take a hit, I’m not going to lie. But it will be renewed, if only a little, by the end. I felt the story dragged a bit at the beginning as the stage is set and because Raymond, the stock trader, isn’t exactly a likable character. Push through. I think you’ll find the story worth it. It’s illuminating but also deeply saddening. A masterpiece of a debut.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: