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Other People's Money: A Novel Paperback – April 12, 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Justin Cartwright is the author of In Every Face I Meet, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Leading the Cheers, winner of the Whitbread; The Promise of Happiness, winner of the Hawthornden Prize; and White Lightning, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread. He was born in South Africa and now lives in London.

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Review

“A tale half comic and half cautionary--and all compelling--about the financial crisis. Witty, thoughtful, briskly paced and entertaining--a terrific novel about excess, hubris, class and the age-old (usually one-sided) tussle between art and commerce.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With wit and keen observation, OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY is an entertaining, observant, and informative excursion into a distant world surprisingly close at hand. ” ―Booklist

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00740FS06
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,224,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an extremely well crafted novel and a very good read. To some extent I was expecting it to be a banker-bashing exercise, but this is not the case. It's a well-paced Zeitgeist novel, very well constructed and easy to read, both insightful and humourous.

Justin Cartwright lets you into the heads of his characters, all of whom are sympathetically drawn and believable, complete with normal human strengths and foibles. Without exception his characters are beautifully drawn, with just enough detail that you immediately know who and what they are. Even the ancillary characters, in just a few sentences, are instantly recognisable.

There is some lovely writing and clever asides that so neatly capture observations on contemporary society in a way that makes you wish you'd thought of them first. The chapter which takes place in the fusion restaurant is a particular example, but there are small jewels throughout the book.

Surprisingly for a book on the banking crisis, there are no baddies or grand reckoning, and I found myself rooting for all the principal characters as they work through their huge uncertainties.

If I have only one negative observation, it is that occasionally the author's own words project a little too blatantly into the inner thoughts of some of the main characters, but this is a small quibble.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is brilliant British satire. The first two pages is just so wonderful, the newspaper account of those who attended the "Service of Thanksgiving" for Sir Harry Trevelyan-Tubal at, of course, St. Paul's Cathedral. The queen and the Duke of Edinburgh did not attend, but were represented by none other than Sir Thomas Carew Knollys... Just priceless name dropping, setting up this absolutely wonderful piece of satire.

By page three Sir Harry is alive--just barely--living in the Villa Tubal where ever-faithful employee, Estelle, in her seventies types up the letters Sir Harry dictates as best he can given his condition--he's suffered from a stroke. Since she has worked so long for Tubal and Company. Sir Harry's now-wife, in her twenties when she married him after his first wife committed suicide, is away. Why not! After all Sir Harry Trevelyan-Tubal is only one of a long line of fathers and sons who have headed this bank.

And, yes, son Julian Trevelyan-Tubal is the recipient of these letters, FedEx-ed daily, letters filled with "sage advice" about how to run the bank. But, of course, Julian has little need for such advice since he is very busy flying in the company jet transferring money from accounts in Lichtenstein to cover some of the many shady loans the huge bank has been making. I, like another reader who reviewed here, thought this was going to be a slam on the banks who have created the world-wide recession. But it isn't, at least not directly. But the satire is much more focused upon the people who made these decisions. Oh, yes, poor Julian suffers from migraines.

And then there is my favorite character, introduced first in chapter three: Artair MacCleod currently living in "an old lifeboat station." But not for long.
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Format: Paperback
This novel tells the tale of a family, a banking family, caught in the web of a pending financial collapse. At heart this is a family drama rather than a deep look at the ills that helped cause the recent financial crisis. An incapacitated father, a son trying to stave off the collapse, a stepmother trying to rediscover her lost youth, a young journalist trying to make her mark, an aging editor desperate for one last story- all make this character-driven story a delight to read. The writing is magnificent, the characters finely drawn, and the situation realistic; this novel is a tuly excellent read. Highly recommended work of literary fiction.
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Format: Paperback
This novel has lots of character, plot and style. But it also wants to be a critique of "the way we live now". There it is less convincing. What did this bank do that was so baleful? It succumbed to the zeitgeist - at the recommendation, as everyone says repeatedly, of a Nobel Prize winner - and invested in mortgage-backed securities which ultimately lost lots of money. Then the owner's son and successor pumped money in to keep the bank afloat, without his dying father's knowledge and in possible violation of regulations. He was looking for a buyer, whom he found and to whom he disclosed these transactions, who then put certain pressures on the government to keep these regulatory offenses under wraps, at least while the sale was proceeding. It is hard for me to see this adding up to much of a case against anyone or anything, least of all an indictment of a way of life. Indeed, it looked very much like the losers were mainly the assorted members of the founding family. The girl reporter came out of it pretty well. The ancient literary lion in the sticks got lots of money in the end. The editor died, but that was after years of hard living - and he had his moment of glory. It was really a comedy of manners and class consciousness, of the sort the Brits do especially well. Yet it seemed to me that it was straining for some greater level of significance. If so, it didn't quite get there.
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