APPEARANCE OF A MAN by George Backer


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Even though money talks most of the time, this novel about Wall Street isn't the easiest issue to float. It's full of deals, mergers and transactions, and notably free of the dynamism which is about the only quality you can attach to James Francis Keating, the man who appears. The preliminaries here, actually a long exposition, leading up to 1929, deal with Keating's rise from Irish beginnings in Poughkeepsie to the Street via Princeton: Ellen, the attractive girl he marries who works on Chic and soon begins to take early morning nips to get her through the day; Sylvan May, who leaves brokerage-ing for publishing; Roland Sargent, a billionaire; Wilmer, a conversationalist critic, the replica of Woollcott; etc. etc. Keating ascends, acquires a full partnership in his firm and 17 directorships, and gets across his idea-- you don't make money, you create wealth. The crash is the curtain-closer but everything that's happened before never makes more than a dull thud. As a novel, you could call it a utility.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 1966
Publisher: Random House