From Publishers Weekly
A Wall Street comedy of manners by Vanity Fair
deputy editor Stumpf, this fast-paced debut novel updates The Bonfire of the Vanities
. Gregarious young Brazilian émigré Aguilar Gil Benicio shines shoes at a prominent firm, where his customer base is almost entirely white, male and exorbitantly pampered: This traders make more money than movie stars, Gil notes. When a janitor friend is unjustly fired, Gil relates the details to Glossy
magazine writer Greg Waggoner, who suspects the incident masks a insider-trading scandal. The conceit of the book, in which Gil and Greg share narrating duties as they recap their effort to uncover the crime, is that the book is Greg's novel, a fictionalized version of the scoop that got away. It's a lousy setup, and vital clues that come too easily don't help. Neither do Gil's unvarnished dialect and his idolization of the traders and of Greg, who plays Henry Higgins to Gil's Eliza Doolittle. Rare indeed, too, is the female character who comes through this tale without suffering degradation or scorn. Yet the book is funny, and beneath the humor (and a lot of sex and sex talk), Stumpf takes on assimilation, class betrayal and common decency with seriousness. (July)
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This début novel views corruption at Wall Streets highest levels through the eyes of two outsiders. Gil, who immigrated to New York from São Paulo as a child and retains a Portuguese-flavored grammar, overhears tales of life on the trading floor while shining some of the nicest shoes in business. He absorbs the particulars of a world where jockeying banter about sex, drugs, and push-up contests is interspersed with long hours of watching numbers on a screen, and where the appeal of insider trading as a way to break the tedium becomes unignorable. Stumpf switches between Gils voice and that of a magazine writer in need of a big story who fastens onto him as a source. As they become entangled in mounting financial and sexual scandals, Stumpf exposes the sordidness in both the financial and the journalistic worlds.
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