Thursday, 22 July 2010

A Year in Books 2010 - The Privileges


I'm going to try and stop being lazy in writing books by American authors centred around a wealthy family. From now on I'm not going to say ".. a bit like Jonathan Franzen's Corrections"!! Although in this case he is quoted on the cover saying "delicious page by page" so you know what you are going to get.
The books follows golden couple Adam and Cynthia as they marry young and climb the social and wealth ladder many rungs at a time. As Cynthia wrestles with meaning, adam stumbles on a universal truth. It is often a dam sight quicker to make lots of money illegally than it is to within the rules. In this case the rules are insider trading.
The book has gained some publicity as highlighting the financial greed that lead to the big collapse. This over simplifies things. At is core is the dilemma of ,when thinking of your children, when does not enough become too much? The book touches on some core relationships, Cynthia and her absent father, with her children and with Adam. What works really well is that although Adam and Cynthia dominate, Dee leaves space for fragments of their children's story to be told.
If you are looking for the easy Hollywood ending of a messy downfall followed by redemption then you should go elsewhere. If there is a message then it probably revolves around the need to quickly focus on those that are closest to you as soon it will be too late.
With that in mind the book is worth getting for the first chapter, which is strong enough to be stand alone short story. It focuses on Adam and Cynthia's wedding , but told through the eyes of a myriad of characters both main and supporting. It really is a great bit of writing that the rest of the book struggles to keep up with

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You can buy Privileges by Jonathan Dee here

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