Peter Mountford’s striking debut novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, is a smart and entertaining book. Set near the peak of the financial bubble in 2005, the book charts the story of a young financial journalist, Gabriel de Boya, recently hired as an analyst for a notoriously unscrupulous hedge fund. Gabriel’s first mission is a test of his abilities: go to Bolivia and find a way to profit from the Bolivian presidential election. In Gabriel, Mountford creates a complex, charismatic, and engaging character, a chameleon who works himself into increasingly precarious positions as his mission is both facilitated and complicated by his love affair with the Bolivian president-elect’s press liaison.
In Mountford's novel, the stakes of international finance and the personal lives of those involved intersect in a beautifully drawn Bolivia. A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism accomplishes that rare trick of being a book of ideas and politics while remaining, at its core, a profoundly intimate, character-driven story and a tremendously good read.
I highly recommend this captivating debut novel by a remarkably promising young writer.
In 1983, when I was seven, my family moved from a quiet neighborhood in Washington, D.C., to Sri Lanka. Two weeks after we arrived in Colombo, the country was consumed by a bloody month of ethnic strife—what became known as Black July. That strife turned into a nearly thirty-year-long civil war. Then, in my early twenties, I spent two years in Ecuador writing about the country’s ailing economy. Ecuador was embroiled in a rapid succession of revolutions and spectacular economic catastrophes at the time, and I saw a similar irrepressible current of culture and beauty running beneath these disasters. Also, I saw how inextricably wed finance is to history, and to the lives of everyday people.
In sharp contrast to those experiences, I also spent part of my childhood in a wooded suburb Washington, D.C., where incidents in the personal and professional lives of my friends’ parents often ended up in the headlines of newspapers.
It was through experiencing these kinds of stark contrasts—between power and powerlessness, wealth and poverty—that I was inspired to write A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism. The book dramatizes my time living and working in South America. Economics is often thought of as a dry subject (the so-called "dismal science"), but it has always seemed utterly dramatic to me, and in this book I’ve tried to reveal how exciting and funny and engaging this material can be.--Peter Mountford
Wow, really enjoyed this book. Wonderfully drawn characters and atmosphere in Bolivia. And interesting treatment of how an election might be exploited by investors. Read morePublished 4 months ago by wrecks
Nothing against the seller or anything like that, it was just a terrible book. :/Published 10 months ago by Heidy Woods
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the world of finance. It tells the story of a young mans journey to wealth and the relationships he comes to understand along... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Gabriel Clark
November 2005. Gabriel de Boya, half-Russian, half-Chilean, but educated as American, arrived in La Paz, Bolivia's de facto capital, as freelancer journalist. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ray Garraty
I bought this novel on a whim at Cody's bookstore in Berkeley. I hadn't even heard of it, but the price was right (it was remaindered), and the subject looked interesting: I... Read morePublished 22 months ago by not me
Interesting subject matter but as it progressed the story became too formulaic and predictable while the prose became bland and sentimental. Promising writer but not there yet.Published on April 24, 2013 by M. Faulk
I was sorry to see the book end and therefore know my time in the intriguing world Mountford had created was over. Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by Scott Douglas
Wish Peter Mountford had more books out, I'd read them all. Overall, the book puts you right into the story with great descriptions. Read morePublished on January 3, 2013 by Philip Gao