The eagerly anticipated debut novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist You Are Not a Stranger Here: a deeply affecting portrait of the modern gilded age, the first decade of the twenty-first century.
At the heart of Union Atlantic lies a test of wills between a young banker, Doug Fanning, and a retired schoolteacher, Charlotte Graves, whose two dogs have begun to speak to her. When Doug builds an ostentatious mansion on land that Charlotte's grandfather donated to the town of Finden, Massachusetts, she determines to oust him in court. As a senior manager of Union Atlantic bank, a major financial conglomerate, Doug is embroiled in the company's struggle to remain afloat. It is Charlotte's brother, Henry Graves, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, who must keep a watchful eye on Union Atlantic and the entire financial system. Drawn into Doug and Charlotte's intensifying conflict is Nate Fuller, a troubled high-school senior who unwittingly stirs powerful emotions in each of them.
Irresistibly complex, imaginative, and witty, Union Atlantic is a singular work of fiction that is sure to be read and reread long after it causes a sensation this spring.
©2009 Adam Hanslett; (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
"Excellent...Haslett's novel is smart and carefully constructed, and his characters are brilliantly flawed....This book should be of interest to readers fascinated but perplexed by the current financial crisis, as it is able to navigate the oubliette of Wall Street trading to create searing and intimate drama." (Publishers Weekly)
"Adam Haslett has the rarest of talents: the ability to combine a powerful intelligence with storytelling that is both elegant and suspenseful, and to break your heart in the process. Union Atlantic is a masterful portrait of our age." (Malcolm Gladwell)
"The first great novel of the new century. It's big and ambitious, like novels used to be. It's about us, now. All of us." (Esquire)
As I finished reading Andrew Ross Sorkin's masterful reportorial account of the financial crisis, "Too Big to Fail," I came across a small news article in the NYT which mentioned "Union Atlantic" as one of several fictional accounts then being written. As soon as "Union Atlantic" was published, I downloaded the audio version. I was disappointed. "Union Atlantic" has a fairly attractive plot line (Union Atlantic is the name of a bank that fails), but Haslett is not a very good writer. The main story frequently diverts into sideshows, which do not aid the narrative, such as a homosexual relationship, the shooting death of a brother of a pivotal character, and two dogs who talk. The several main characters were interesting enough and the plot itself had enough momentum that I finished the book, but I was relieved that it was over. While this is not a particularly bad book, it isn't very good either, and I was disappointed that I didn't wait longer for a better "financial crisis" novel to come along, as it surely will. The reader was quite good.
I read Haslett's short stories several years ago and was happy to find his first novel -- it did not disappoint. Haslett is a beautiful writer and this is a wonderful production..
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