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Bombardiers: A Novel of Business Hardcover – February 14, 1995
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Regardless of how you feel about investment banking ("It's a complete scam!"; "It's a great way to make a killing!"), this non-stop novelistic indictment of the shark-infested financial world--and by extension, much of the corporate world--is bound to make you laugh uproariously--and think deeply. As fast-paced and frenetic as the stock exchange on a Monday morning.
From Publishers Weekly
The "bombardiers" are the bond traders for the San Francisco-based Atlantic Pacific Corporation, a madcap crew shrewdly observed in Bronson's bitingly satiric first novel. Chief among these cynical, inbred, often self-loathing but highly paid white-collar worker ants is anti-hero Sid Geeder, an "old man" at 34, enraged at his meaningless work and existence. Snapping at Sid's heels is the puppy-like Eggs Igino, the trader of the future, boyish, seemingly dependable, sneakily ruthless (in one amusing spar, Eggs tries to get Sid to swap insider information in exchange for clues to the procurement of an elusive strawberry danish). Around them whirl the others, including hard-bitten Coyote Jack, gorgeous Lisa Lisa, pathetic Nickel Sansome, all of them driven relentlessly and absurdly by the cocaine-like high of easy money. Around their frantic and inconclusive relationships, which Bronson delineates with verve, are woven an episodic plot concerning the bombardiers' manipulation of Eastern European and Caribbean affairs and a quiltwork of trenchant observations about the financial world: "The financial markets had replaced elections as the barometer of the country's mood"; "the information economy was a Ponzi scheme spiralling out of control." These clever and abundant maxims, however, fail to compensate for a lack of subtlety in the evolution of the characters, who often seem more marionettes of the author's satire than living entities. Still, Bronson writes with panache, and while his novel finally lacks the depth of feeling that can distinguish a great satire like Catch-22, it's a witty and cutting send-up that marks him as a writer with a likely big and bright future. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Po Bronson's novel about bond traders is a candid look into the "greasemen" of the financial system. It tells the story of a dysfunctional SF bond trading office. The office is a corporate meatgrinder churning out profits, making those crazy or tough enough to handle the stress rich, and crushing the rest. In the pressure cooker of the bond market, "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro". If you're not a pro, you're fired. One day, a new salesman Eggs Igino fresh out of grad school arrives. He's like Jesus, and he changes everything.
This book was so good, I read it in two days. At one point I had to put it down because I was laughing so hard tears were running down my cheeks. Bronson's prose is this weird melange of Joseph Heller and Hunter S. Thompson (in his early years). It's the ridiculous, mixed with base human emotions, and salted with the bizarre.
While hilarious, Bronson's plot is a bit weak. He appears to be an author who derives more from the setting then the story. I had trouble sorting out the main character's (Igino) motives. Or maybe the main character was Sid Geeder? I couldn't be sure. In addition, his two female character's (Lisa Lisa and Sue Marino) were interchangeable.
"Bombardiers" is a good read. It's got information, sex, absurdity, and cruel humor administered at an amphetamine charged pace. You won't put it down.
To me, there is more poetry in Bronson's prose, and the humor is sharper. The self contradictory nonsense dialogue is used perfectly as one tool in an arsenal that includes hyperbole, technical savvy, and skillful pacing. The imagery of an investment firm as a ship floating above San Francisco is perfect, as is the naked self interest that causes the bond salesmen to torture themselves during a historically insane time in America's history. How sad that we haven't learned from this book, and are about to repeat it again as soon as the 'recovery' is underway.
The fact that master cynic Sid Geeder could find himself overcome with friendship for Eggs Igino speaks of an insight to human nature that is profound. I think Heller would be extremely flattered if he were around.
The sales managers are ogres, the bond salesmen themselves tortured heroes, or bastards, or idiots, or sometimes a combination of 2 or 3 of those, with some telepathic or clairvoyant skills thrown in if it will make things move along quicker. Revenge is sweet, and consumed often, served hot or cold. Stress nearly kills several characters, and ruins the life of many more. Relationships are as short and destructive as possible. But it's "cartoon violence" and the whole way the jokes keep coming thick and fast, and you're laughing so much that people are starting to ask what the hell you're reading!
It's a wild ride, and hard to get off once you're on board. Read it!
Yes, it's funny, it's biting, it has that "Catch 22" thing going on...but it's also *very* educational. Bronson really understands markets and does a great job here getting their complexities down on paper in an engaging, even riveting, way - even when it involves something as trivial as the office breakfast.
Very humorous and very highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found no suspense or intrigue