A woman’s fictionalized memoir focuses on love and money.
Debut author Lei explains that she has created a “fictional autobiography”: a work that portrays her past experiences as well as her “deepest fantasies.” This series opener begins in a small town in Missouri. The narrator, Kimmei, left California with her young daughter and two best friends. The reason for the move? She wanted to start anew after the past six years of “turmoil.” That turbulence included a custody battle, a criminal court case, and a love triangle of sorts involving two men, one of whom is referred to as “Bastardick.” But as intriguing as these topics are, the narrative soon shifts back to 2011. Kimmei explains her time working in finance in Las Vegas and it is here where the bulk of the action takes place. There are reflections on past business dealings, Alt-A mortgages, and cryptocurrency. Woven into the mix are memories of her mother’s journey out of Cambodia as well as references that range from business thinkers like James Altucher to the cartoon characters Ren & Stimpy. There is also the looming presence of a romantic interest called “the Italian Devil.” The narrative covers a lot of ground, though the subjects are of varying interest. Neither the narrator’s attendance at a financial conference nor the details of her office make for spellbinding copy. For instance, need readers know that, upon entering Kimmei’s old workplace, her “desk was on the right side of the room, enclosed in three walls”? A greater appeal comes in the form of the various riffs on assets like Bitcoin and quant funds. Discussing the latter, the book notes that “trading strategies are closely guarded secrets” and are out of reach of average investors. These blips of financial insights, combined with harrowing tales of the Cambodian jungle and the sexual antics of the Italian Devil, help to build an original tale. While the sexual tension may be muted thanks to generic terms like “passionate kisses,” readers will likely be curious to know how Kimmei went from her Devil in the desert to a family of women in Missouri.
While some details prove tedious, this book offers an inventive adventure in Las Vegas.