Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 8, 2011)
In Adam Haslett’s excellent first novel (following Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here), a titan of the banking industry does battle with a surprisingly formidable opponent: a retired history teacher.
Doug Fanning has built Union Atlantic from a mid-size Boston bank to an international powerhouse and rewards himself by building a rural palace in Finden, Massachusetts. The land his house is built on, however, had been donated to Finden for preservation by Charlotte Graves’s grandfather, and Charlotte believes she now has a claim on the lot. She may be right, and her disdain of modern decadence means bad news for Doug should she win in court. Meanwhile, high school senior Nate Fuller, who visits Charlotte for tutoring and Doug for awkward and lopsided sexual encounters, finds himself with the power to upset the legal and cultural war game.
Haslett’s novel is smart and carefully constructed, and his characters are brilliantly flawed. (Charlotte’s emerging instability is especially heartbreaking.) This book should be of interest to readers fascinated but perplexed by the current financial crisis, as it is able to navigate the oubliette of Wall Street trading to create searing and intimate drama. – from Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)