A motley crew of Wall Street traders anticipates one of corporate America’s biggest spinoffs in this debut novel.
Long before the iPhone or other handheld devices, the Palm Pilot enjoyed its moment in the spotlight until its parent company, 3Com, sold it off in a disastrous move in 2000. This noteworthy event in recent Wall Street history anchors the book, whose primary action is driven by the back stories of seven traders: Clerk, W83, T22, Savage, New Girl, CN, and Weber. The story zooms in and out of each of these characters’ first-person narratives as they go about their lives with heady anticipation—or in some cases, ho-hum resignation—of what is to come. They all know that the Palm Pilot spinoff is kind of a huge deal, but as far as their work is concerned, it might just as well be another manic Monday. Clerk, a recent college graduate, would be on a path to self-discovery if only he weren’t so obsessed with sex. T22, the biggest broker on the floor, throws drug-fueled parties; CN watches his marriage fall apart while worrying about how to undercut his competition in the pit; and Savage, addicted to Diet Coke, works on his own schemes to hit on New Girl. Given that practically the entire novel is consumed by the seven characters’ stories, and that the goal here is to present the human side of Wall Street, it is unfortunate that not all of them come into distinct focus. A couple even start sounding like each other after a while. Working with a smaller cast might have allowed for more distinctive characters and also made room for story development, since the action builds to the Palm Pilot trade and then halts abruptly. In addition, the provocative novel’s crude language and frequent use of insider jargon can be off-putting. But those who crave a peek at how the sausage is made in America’s corridors of power may enjoy this wild, if bone-jarring, ride.
A visceral financial tale that lacks the bite of The Wolf of Wall Street.