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Kapitoil: A Novel Paperback – April 13, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Karim comes to New York from Qatar to help work on the Y2K problem for his company, Schrub Equities (possible a satire on Schwab Equities). The year is 1999. The book is broken into chapters that are entries in Karim's journal. Karim projects all of your typical nerdy qualities: social awkwardness, good with math, meticulous about technical details. He's even observant when native English speakers employ "non-optimal grammar," as he puts it, in Karim-esque prose. The end of each journal entry lists the American idioms Karim came across that day, along with what they mean. As a hobby, Karim works on a computer program he invented to take advantage of the oil futures market. The program turns into a hit with his professional superiors, and before Karim knows it he is a star in the New York office (which, by the way, happens to be located in the World Trade Center).Read more ›
Karim combines the traits of foreigner abroad, befuddled by the ways of America, with those of classic nerd befuddled at the ways of humans. He narrates the book as if he too is a computer. He uploads information and downloads feedback. He checks for bugs. Each chapter ends with a handy glossary of the slang Karim has learned.
Karim quickly invents a system that plugs in news events to fluctuations on the oil market, netting his employer millions. He finds himself on the fact track, playing squash with the billionaire CEO.He gets to sit in the executive box at the Yankees, rides in his helicopter and is even finally to spend the weekend at the boss' Connecticut estate. Meanwhile Karim is drawn into a relationship with high-strung colleague Rebecca. He gets stoned,gets drunk and falls mildly in love. It's a complete American experience.
This is all mildly amusing. Karim is an entertaining narrator, although not always intentionally. It's instructive to view our own country and culture through foreign eyes although the picture reflected back is not always flattering. Karim eventually finds himself facing a moral dilemma which brings the book to a somewhat unsatisfactory conclusion. He does what he regards as the right thing. Readers are free to agree or disagree.
This book falls squarely into the tradition of the 'Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.' We could call it 'Arab Geek at the Court of Wall Street.' It has some things to teach us but should not be taken too seriously.
The plot moves slowly, with very awkward romantic intrigue into what seems like should've been written as a thriller about New York finance firms; there's more family drama with trust fund babies more than actual ideas or actions driving the plot. Moreover, the motives of the characters seems to have been just mashed together, with some strange undercurrent of morality colliding with financial interest that really shows no basis from the main character.
Apart from the disastrous plot, the characters themselves are boring, inarticulate, and quite frankly amateurish caricatures that wouldn't be appropriate in a low-end student movie production. I really wouldn't recommend this to anybody.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book. Teddy Wayne has a very dry sense of humor that I love. The book has both humor and poigantcy.Published 1 month ago by susan anton
Good interpretation of a newcomers take on America. Interesting ethical dilemmas for our main character whose mental gifts are over the top, but social graces are awkward. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Eugenya
It's a good effort. Pick it up cheap. It understands what makes novels still meaningful to people. The voice of the narrator is startlingly consistent. Read morePublished 21 months ago by mk_uber
Excellent book. I enjoyed this tale of corporate greed taking advantage of innocent genius.Published 22 months ago by Vivian Windom
This was a great read. Couldn't put it down. Smart, funny, insightful, genuine. Highly recommend. You will not be disappointed.Published 23 months ago by AJRV
TD is an excellent writer, and this, his freshman effort, is a very solid one. TD does a superb job of imagining his characters -- what motivates them, their perspectives, their... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Librum
I was completely immersed in this story from the very first page. Not only is the voice perfect and the story compelling, but this is an ambitious, important book of big ideas that... Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by Book Nerd
I was introduced to the writing of Teddy Wayne through an essay published in the New Times magazine (Jan 5, `14), and knew the voice was authentic and important on many levels,... Read morePublished on January 9, 2014 by R. Clay