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THIS BLEEDING CITY Paperback – January 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: FABER AND FABER (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571251706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571251704
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,454,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Wrigley on March 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
I guess I misunderstood. When I read the description of This Bleeding City, it sounded like an fun story of fast life in the City of London, intrigue in the finance sector. I was expecting something like Grisham's The Apprentice, crooked financiers and their comeuppance.
I liked the sound of a touch of romance; a personal story, not just gritty corruption, with a naive graduate taking on the world.

That's not what it was at all. Ignoring the prologue (which caused me to spend the last 50 pages of the book wondering when we were going to catch up to that event), we are led into the world of Charlie Wales, studying at Uni and hung up about his family's lack of money and connection. He decides he wants to continue in the fast lane, make money fast and retire young. The only way to achieve this, he tells us, is to take a job in London, which he expects to hate, doing high finance, which he expects to devour his soul and leave him devoid of higher functions.

Perhaps it's me, but my sympathy is thin on the ground before the plot has had a chance to get moving. It is unclear why Charlie (and his friends) stick it out in London, continuing to despise the city and everyone they work with, spending their evenings bemoaning the reality of life in big business. His friends escape leaving him miserable and alone, about to be hit by the tidal wave of the financial crash.

There's more to it than that, of course. There's the romance angle: Vero who is not his girlfriend but sleeps with him on occasion but won't settle with him but there might be something more but he has to make more money to make her happy. To be fair to the girl, this appears to be his interpretation, not hers.
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Format: Paperback
'If you liked "Bright Lights, Big City", you'll love this' said the wrapper around this novel, which sat on top of a pile in an airport bookstore. That set off a round of predictions. The novel will be about bright young things snorting and pilling around the financial world, or the London branch of it; someone will have vaguely literary yearnings; endless complaints will follow about The Job, whose details will be traced rather than described; despair will follow by the bucket-load, and the pace will be heedless. On some level, furthermore, the lead character will embrace the burned-out degradation attendant on his ambition.

Wasn't wrong.

I wanted to like this novel far more than I did. Despite the initial topical appeal - which, perhaps, helped grease the novel's journey inside Russell Square - the whole scene seems more reminiscent of the 80's than the present. The yuppie optimism may be draining away, but the dream of the characters - to yield up their twenties to retire rich in their forties - is the same.

With the best will in the world, it's hard to turn the ins and outs of portfolio managers and investments into readable material. Impatience mars the novel's construction, too. Sometime the scenes, especially in the novel's middle section, are less drawn than hurriedly jotted and pushed at the reader. They're as wispy as plane trails.

Does everyone in the financial world blurt out their autobiography at the slightest provocation, and sound the same doing it? Take this piece from a lap dancer:

'Oh, that's so cool. I'd love to go to Vegas. I saw that film with Nicolas Cage. It's such a glamorous place. [Did she actually watch Leaving Las Vegas...?] I like places that have all the gliz and glamour and still have a really seedy underbelly.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "Belgo Geordie" on September 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
I picked this up at an op shop and thought, given the topic, and debuting author, it would or could be an interesting read. Like other reviewers, the start was annoying, over written and well "so what". Read it on the train to work over a number of mornings and the drear darkness of Sydney winter was a good frame for what turns out to be a bloodless story. I thank the author for capturing an aspect of the "markets" in full flow, decline, crash and resurgence with all the morality of a hyena scratching its rear end. It captured people who move reactively in a shallow track of entitlement, indulgence and irresponsibility. The most annoying aspect: In the first 50 pages I was over the cigarette/booze and later drug binge/celebration and not a hacking cough, decent hangover (or STD) anywhere in sight. However, three stars because there is a morality in this novel that stops you choking on the dust of the protagonist's view of the world. Yes Ms French was an appalling creation but much worse was Charlie Wales. A want to be "literary want to be" who dilettantes at journalism before deciding he has to go back and make real money. He comes across as spineless, with the substance of a jelly fish being gargled by a tadpole; a Don Quixote of mediocrity, tilting at windmills of self pity and indulgence and no wiser. But, in reflection: the people who run and drive the "markets"-what has changed? That is the depressing legacy of this novel. Greed survives, recovers and like cancer, can be remorseless.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Emma Hague on October 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book arrived before the estimated delivery time and in perfect condition. It was even sealed in plastic inside the envelope. I liked that. It shows that this seller takes good care of Amazon's buyers. I would buy from this seller again.
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