What links the Investment Bank of Torabundo, www.myhotswaitress.com (yes, with an s, don't ask), an art heist, a novel called For the Love of a Clown, a six-year-old boy with the unfortunate name of Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB agent?
The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray's madcap new novel of institutional folly, following the success of his wildly original breakout hit, Skippy Dies.
While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul's fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul's plan is not what it seems - and neither is Claude's employer, the Investment Bank of Torabundo, which swells through dodgy takeovers and derivatives trading until - well, you can probably guess how that shakes out.
The Mark and the Void is the funniest novel ever written about the recent financial crisis and a stirring examination of the deceptions carried out in the names of art and commerce.
©2015 Paul Murray (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
Narration was excellent but nothing happens until the end. The banker's life is a case study of frustration. It seems as though the author's intent was to capture the void of nothingness that plagues people living in the modern world as they struggle to find their true selves amidst a world enslaved by debt and financial ruin. The author makes the case that as the rich get richer and the poor poorer in an increasingly technology center world that people lose the ability to function in real life instead choosing to escape the doldrums of life by becoming absorbed in attempts to accumulate wealth or by living a virtual life on the internet and video games. The premise is interesting and something I sadly notice in my daily interactions with others but in this story the banker sometimes comes across as having his head stuck in the sand in an artificially deep hole.
The frustration accompanying our reading of his life seems meant to emulate the ennui in modern life but sometimes the banker just appears daft to the point where I began to suspect he could have been diagnosed with some form of autism. His inability to understand even the most obvious interactions was over-exaggerated and made me want to tear my hair out. By the end, the story behind to become too artificial although the ending is well done. I would rate the book higher if it had been shorter.
This book is a lot more than a story of a banker and an author. The way he makes a nightmarishly situation and serious philosophical discussions be riotously funny is pure magic. It's chaotic and profane but glued together with love.
Humor. Humanity. Greed.
Because this book was written by Paul Murray and because I loved "Skippy Dies", this was a must read. Had I just read the book description blurb, I may not have picked this book up.
I've seen two separate book descriptions and both feel woefully inadequate. This book is so much more. This book is about life, love, failure, success, humanity's impact on this earth, technology's impact on humanity, income inequality, corporate greed, the haves and the have nots... to say the least.
From this work of fiction, I gained a better understanding of real life income inequality and the banking shenanigans that crashed the economy and that are still being carried out today.
I'm completely split on feeling satisfied by a humorous love story with the perfect ending and feeling really pissed about corporate and investment - some illegal but mostly legal - practices pulled over our eyes.
Explanations of how the wealthy are making bank off the misfortune of others.
Derek Perkins did a wonderful job narrating. He covered quite a few nationalities quite well.
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