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Union Atlantic Paperback – February 8, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Adam Haslett may be our F. Scott Fitzgerald. . . . A profound, strikingly intelligent story.” —The Washington Post Book World
“The first great novel of the new century that takes the new century as its subject . . . It’s big and ambitious. . . . It’s about us, now. All of us.” —Esquire
“Remarkable. . . . With gorgeous prose and the punch of a first-rate thriller.” —USA Today
“Funny and insightful. . . . The perfect book for our times. . . . Haslett has created memorable characters whose dysfunctional lives seem to embody the frenetic craziness and moral confusion of the era.” —“What We’re Reading,” National Public Radio
“It’s remarkable how successfully Union Atlantic continues the nuance of Haslett’s earlier [work]…. Swiftly and confidently, Haslett unwinds the ball of yarn that is the global financial crisis to reveal its core.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Exceedingly well written….A high-spirited, slyly astute exploration of our great bottoming out.” –The Boston Globe
“An enthralling, lucid and superbly confident work of art that grips from the first page as it puts the reader ringside at the heart of the financial crisis, revealing it finally as an emergency of the human heart and its societal urge….This is a big novel and a masterful debut by a writer whose talent is equal to his project, and whose project could not be more timely.” –Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee and The Other Hand
“Union Atlantic sets itself the daunting challenge of doing for late capitalism what Heart of Darkness did for late colonialism. It is a measure of Haslett’s extraordinary skill that he just about succeeds.” –The Financial Times
“Haslett has a deeply informed and imaginative grasp of history, and his book reads like a thriller, but it is, stealthily, much more than that: a chronicle of the collective corruption whose fallout we are, right this minute, enduring.” –O, The Oprah Magazine
“More than a financial page-turner….An ambitious literary work, filled with compelling characters, evocative prose and finely drawn social portraiture….The first serious fictional portrait of the bailout era….Decades from now, this fine novel will help readers understand the period we’ve just been through.” –The Wall Street Journal
“Haslett is a major talent….It’s been years since a novel has captured the zeitgeist of contemporary America this well; it’s been years since a new author has convinced us, with just two books, that there might be nothing he can’t do.” –Bookslut
“[Haslett] has written the first great novel of the new century that takes the new century as its subject, but not simply because it takes the new century as its subject….Rather, Haslett has written a great novel because he has emerged in Union Atlantic as a great novelist, a mystery as abiding as any of the mysteries of the Fed—indeed, a mystery restored, even as the mysteries of the Fed are revealed.” –Esquire
"Union Atlantic is a bleak, brazen, beauty of a book."—Elle
“In Union Atlantic, Haslett presents us with a sweeping, blessedly clear vision of how we wound up in the economic cesspool….And he does it all with modesty and a depth of feeling for his characters that imbues, yet never seeks to explain away, their essence.”—GQ
"Emerging here as a sort of E.M. Forster of the aughts, Haslett high-steps nimbly from great tenderness to arch social satire, and from the civic to the personal. He even manages to make monetary systems....glow like poetry.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Union Atlantic will possibly be the quintessential American novel of the first decade of the 21st century.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“[Haslett’s] gift for language, his unerring eye, his honesty and his compassion for his characters, many of whom are deeply flawed and deeply troubled, puts him in the company of the best authors writing in English today….In Haslett’s hands, there’s also humour, insight, and a shard of hope.” –The National
“[Union Atlantic] takes on the largest possible questions: the fate of the American empire and the meaning of America itself. The action moves with high Aristotelian perfection….Haslett is a skilled writer with a painfully acute feeling for the dynamics of family life in old New England families.” –The New Republic
About the Author
Adam Haslett is the author of the novel Imagine Me Gone; the short story collection You Are Not A Stranger Here, which was a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist and which won the PEN/Winship Award; and the novel Union Atlantic, which won the Lambda Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. His books have been translated into eighteen languages, and he has received the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, the PEN/Malamud Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations. He lives in New York City.
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which come to mind that I've read more than once). With "Union Atlantic" once will suffice. To what would I attribute this? Well, the novel, though it's 300 pages and a bit over, feels somehow
underwritten to me. It's not that I think that what happens between Doug Fanning and Nate is impossible, but I needed to see further into the characters' minds and hearts before I could feel
that it was exactly what would happen between these two.
As for the prose, it's pellucid and wonderful--like drinking a cup of water from a mountain stream. I'd heard that it was difficult to keep one's bearings, as some of the chapters are told from
different points of view, but that's not true at all; the author did a fine job of keeping me grounded. And, as a few of the reviews here have pointed out, the author is very funny, too: the
fourth of July party alone made me laugh out loud twice.
Do I recommend the novel? Yes, I do. I think it is a job well done, and I believe most readers will be happy to have read it. I'm already waiting for the author's next effort.
Also, I am by no means a prude, but there is a fairly graphic homosexual scene that some readers should be aware of, particularly younger readers.
Unfortunately the author does not seem to know enough about finance or war to reveal to us something which we do not already know (he should take lessons from Michael Lewis how to write about finance and from Krakauer how to write about contemporary wars). There is certainly plenty of material to make interesting plot and interesting and deep character analysis.
Instead, it feels that not only this reader but also author himself is bored with the plot and characters he invented.
The only part of the book which sounds real is when Haslett treats us with scenes of gay sex. But these theme is completely disconnected from the rest of the book. Why does it matter that Doug is gay? and why does it matter that he is a trader? he could as well has been a straight trader or a gay soldier. The book would still be pain to read.
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