A pretty Marseillaise, a pretty grim Corsican and a happily pessimistic hedge-fund manager get themselves into a pretty fix with world shattering results, in the second novel from Berberian (The Cyclist, 2002).
Wayne is the very young and very successful manager of Empiricus, a hedge fund built on the belief that there is always something nasty lurking around the corner and that bubbles always burst. While the rest of the world searches for the Next Big Thing, Wayne and Empiricus search for the Next Awful Thing. And it doesn’t matter what: Political upheaval. War. Disease. There’s always trouble somewhere, and always money to be made if one spots the disaster while everyone else looks for the silver lining. One little pocket of trouble is on Corsica, where a cardboard manufacturer is about to breathe its last, further worsening the woeful economy of the depressed French province, further depressing an anti-global local known to Alix, his architectural student sweetheart in Marseilles, and to Wayne, who has been dumping the cardboard company stock, only as the Corsican. But Wayne, never completely satisfied with letting nature schedule her own disasters, has uses for the Corsican. He also has hopes for an eventual meeting with Alix, with whom he has been corresponding. Alix is a rather fey thing, given to spending nights under the stars on the rooftops of the local high rises. Although she rather fancies Wayne, whom she has yet to meet, she still has liaisons with the Corsican. Wayne has more than a romantic interest in Alix; he’s having her ship diagrams of prominent architectural landmarks, drawings that will find their way, marked with Alix’s signature, into the hands of the Corsican. When Wayne and Alix finally meet, they strike sparks. And more sparks.
Sophisticated, slightly daffy poke at our Masters of the Universe.