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Crunch Lit / Katy Shaw – The financial crisis of 2008 quickly gave rise to a growing body of fiction: “Crunch Lit”. These ‘recession writings’ take the financial crisis as their central narrative concern and explore its effects on consumer culture, gender roles and contemporary communities. Examining a range of texts including John Lanchester’s Capital, Adam Haslett’s Union Atlantic, and Sebastian Faulks’ A Week in December, this book offers the first wide-ranging guide to these new millennial writings.
Capital / John Lanchester – Celebrated novelist John Lanchester (author of The Debt to Pleasure) returns with an epic novel that captures the obsessions of our time. It’s 2008 and things are falling apart: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are going under, and the residents of Pepys Road, London―a banker and his shopaholic wife, an old woman dying of a brain tumor and her graffiti-artist grandson, Pakistani shop owners and a shadowy refugee who works as the meter maid, the young soccer star from Senegal and his minder―are receiving anonymous postcards reading “We Want What You Have.” Who is behind it? What do they want? Epic in scope yet intimate, capturing the ordinary dramas of very different lives, this is a novel of love and suspicion, of financial collapse and terrorist threat, of property values going up and fortunes going down, and of a city at a moment of extraordinary tension. – available through PASCAL Delivers
The Futures: A Novel / Anna Pitoniak – A heart-wrenching debut novel about a young couple trying to find out what they really want in life and whether or not that includes each other. Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, who grew up in a small town in Canada, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia – blond, beautiful and rich – is part of his vision for a successful future. After they graduate in 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund – another step forward in the life he imagines for himself. Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, graduates with an art history degree and no plan for her own future. She lands a low paying assistant job at a nonprofit, unsure about what she really wants, and wondering when everyone else figured that out for themselves. With the market crashing and banks failing around him, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work, and begins to realize that the price of privilege may come with dangerous strings attached. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past, someone who offers her a vision of a different kind of life. Told in alternating perspectives, The Futures is a vivid story about love – falling in and out of it – betrayal, and the burning desire to be valued.
Union Atlantic: A Novel / Adam Haslett – At the heart of Union Atlantic lies a test of wills between a retired history teacher, Charlotte Graves—who has suddenly begun to hear her two dogs speaking to her in the voices of Cotton Mather and Malcolm X—and an ambitious young banker, Doug Fanning, who is building an ostentatious mansion on what was once Charlotte’s family land. Drawn into the conflict is Nate Fuller, a troubled high-school student who stirs powerful emotions in both of them. What emerges is a riveting story of financial power, the defense of tradition, and the distortions of desire these forces create. With remarkable scope and precision, Union Atlantic delivers a striking vision of the violent, anxious world we’ve come to inhabit. – available through PASCAL Delivers
The Darlings / Cristina Alger – Married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. A tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. Will Paul save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs? – available through PASCAL Delivers
Behold the Dreamers: A Novel / Imbolo Mbue – Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.