Monday, October 25, 2010

Yet More Reading

Laughed my head off (Nabokov's Invitation To A Beheading?) over Jess Walters' latest, The Financial Lives of the Poets. One of the first, perhaps THE first and certainly the funniest, novels about the recent financial crisis. Walter's previous novel, The Zero, was a post 9/11 book, a bleak (I'm guessing, it's on my shelf but as yet unread) story of the " fractured sense of reality" (according to Walters himself) in America at that time.

FLOTP is a post 7/11 novel, Walters jokes in the readers' guide at the end. Getting milk one night at a 7/11, failed web-based poetic financial journalist (advice about investing during the GFC - in free verse, sonnet form or iambic pentameter no less - hence the title), rapidly going bankrupt (how did all that money disappear like the ephemeral clouds?), about to lose his house now the everything bubble has burst and he's lost his real job, Matt Prior meets some stoner kids. They offer him a toke on a joint... and off we go... So funny.

Recommended to the max to pull you out of a blankness funk as well.


Speaking of solipsism and financial crises, Iain M Banks' Transition is probably the first post 7/11 GFC science fiction novel. A multi-verse assassin flits from body to body and world to alternate world while he double-deals with (and fucks majestically) the mysterious and eternal Madame D'Ortolan and her nemesis, the rebel Mrs Mulverhill.

Though his plot is set in a science-fiction world, Banks' is intent on aiming squarely at this one. Libertarian financial stupidity (we are on one of the *greed* based worlds), extremist Christian suicide-terrorists (15 years ago, say the word terrorist and you immediately envisage Irish Catholics), entrenched government sanctioned torture, it all gets a dystopian blast of satire from Banks' cynical laser-sharp verbal weaponry.

Recommended if you could cope easily with Inception and hate those Tea Party wankers.



knobby said...

could i borrow the Walters please? or if you don't like loaning out books, i'll come by whenever you're back and read it in a few sessions. will bring beer :)

expat@large said...

I am sure Mr Walters would prefer it if you rewarded his considerable talents and his efforts by purchasing your own copy. I know I would, if I ever wrote and published a book.

However, just this once... Back for the weekend, give me a call.

knobby said...

yay! sunday best if possible. it's not the money. it's the fact that i don't like wasting paper, energy and resources in general. and since i rarely (never) read books more than once, a purchase would be a true waste. if you know Walters's contact info, i'll quite happily Paypal him what he'd get as royalty from my purchase.

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