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Bombardiers Paperback – March 1, 1996
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
First-novelist Bronson takes on modern business in a black comedy about a group of money-crazed and eccentric bond traders in San Francisco.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“The most entertaining work of fiction on Wall Street since Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.”
“A hilarious must read for anyone with a brokerage account or mutual fund.”
“The prose explodes with the force of a volcano, the dialogue is as flashy as a fireworks display, and the characters are as relentlessly driven as motorcycles on the wall of death.”
“Perhaps the most entertaining depiction of greed and dishonesty on Wall Street ever to see print...Bronson is a major talent, able to craft the kind of passages you reread just to revel in prose with a compelling cadence all its own.”
“The first thing you’ll want to do after reading Bombardiers...is to buy futures on Bronson’s career. This first novel is both funny and wise.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
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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.
A lot of the banking concepts such as bonds, savings and loans, securities I didn't fully understand. But kudos to the author for structuring his prose in such a way that the specifics of bond trading is not important in moving the plot forward. It's the characters and their personal ideosyncracies and relationships with one another that grip the reader. The pace of the novel can only be described as frenetic, like a movie that incessantly cuts away to scene after scene every couple of minutes. To have an author that is able to provide the reader with a 360-degree panoramic view into the heart and life of an industry while at the same time satirizing it is pure genius.
As a quick summary of the story: Sidney Geeder is the king of mortgages. He's the best bond salesman Atlantic Pacific (AP) has. He's also a couple of months away from retiring rich with stock options. Sid's hatred for the bonds he sells is what drives him to be the best. At the same time a new kid named Mark Igino (aka Eggs Igino) joins the company. Egg's is a natural salesman and also somewhat of a renegade for not having been exposed to the house rules of AP. As expected, Eggs turns the place upside down. Sid and Eggs quickly form a friendship (more like an alliance). Naturally, AP wants to control its employees, and how it does it is the focus of this story along with a supporting cast that'll keep you grinning till the end. Truly engaging!
The author has an uncanny talent for humor in the subtleties of each character. A statement as absurd as "he lost his job because of his need to floss" generates complete empathy on the part of the reader after reading through this novel. I would recommend this book to any person with any background.
LEAP rating (each out of 5):
L (Language) - 4 (well-crafted dialogue keeps your mind off the technicalities of bond trading)
E (Erotica) - 1 (let's just say, bond salesman have fun too)
A (Action) - 0 (n/a)
P (Plot) - 3 (fairly predictable ending, it's the characters that are important)
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.