A cool million
It is hard to tell whether one likes or dislikes this novel. It is a peculiar, hallucinatory experience. The cartoonish humour is, at once, wickedly funny and horridly cliched, bluntly didactic and acutely observant. One either rides with its eccentricity or is made sea-sick by it. I think, in the end, its success revolves around the extent to which you think West is offering the reader any sense of hope; indeed, whether it can be inferred that West himself possessed any of that virtue.
The relentlessness with which Lem’s picaresque life unfolds in succeeding disastrous set-pieces does become wearying, and before long what initially seemed like highly effective satire-dressed-as-whimsy loses both its humour and its impact. In that, it's a bit like Vonnegut when he's off-form. Lem is a construct, completely empty, devoid of any emotion or knowledge or feeling other than the quest for the American dream. He is completely passive. His life happens to him. He dies. From that point of view, A Cool Million is probably the least successful of West's novels.
By the end of the novel, Lem is embroiled in a Fascist