An intrepid rising star in the business world longs for intimacy in Pappos’ debut novel.
By a stroke of luck, Stathis leaves his fishing village in Greece at age 13 to attend school in Athens. He later becomes a graduate of Stanford and enters an international MBA program at the European Business School in Paris. Although he gets used to a jet-set world of money and hedonism, a part of him is just the son of a fisherman at heart. When he meets Erik, a journalism student who writes a scathing article about EBS, Stathis quickly falls in love with him even though they have wildly different lifestyles and values. While their relationship continues for several years, Erik, a trust-fund kid who has never known what it’s like to be poor, looks down on Stathis’ work as a business consultant. It doesn’t help that Stathis travels so much for work that he spends most of his nights in various hotels. Eventually, his hectic schedule and their different values tear them apart. Later, Stathis finds comfort in a housing arrangement with Tatiana, the 20-year-old daughter of a famous Hollywood actress. With Tatiana, Stathis enjoys cocaine and threesomes and, in some ways, a greater sense of home than he had with Erik. Tatiana is by far the most interesting character in the novel, but she doesn’t appear until the second half. Much of the writing is crude, and the central relationship between Stathis and Erik never takes off. The storyline dedicated to Stathis’ work as a business consultant, including his “Innovate through Simplicity” brand that wins him a promotion, is full of jargon that does nothing to draw the reader in.
A joyless and basically plotless novel about a rootless existence.