Alberto Moravia’s novel Boredom follows Dino, a struggling artist, in his attempts to escape the burden of his family’s wealth.
I asked: “Well then, are we rich or are we not?”
For a moment my mother sat silent, looking at me with a strange solemnity. Then, leaning toward me and lowering her voice, she said: “We are not rich, Dino, we are very rich. Thanks to your mother, you are a very rich man.”
“What does ‘very rich’ mean?”
“‘Very rich’ means something more than merely ‘rich’.”
“But less than ‘extremely rich’?”
“Yes, less than ‘extremely rich’.” As I examined the faces of my mother’s guests, I suddenly had a strong feeling that there was not one wrinkle, not one inflection of the voice, not one ripple of laughter,not a single feature, in fact, that was not directly determined by the money which, as the fat old man had said, was represented by the guests in that room, in greater or lesser quantity. Yes, I thought, in that crowd, money had turned into flesh and blood.