"For Christ sake don’t become a fluffmeister," are the last words Barnaby Griswold gets from his father. But despite trying to turn out otherwise, Barnaby knows himself a fool and already makes his living as a fluffmeister, as a puffer-up of investments. Well-bred, more or less educated, friendly to everyone, Barnaby is in fact foolishly successful. Until he blows it all. At 46, disgraced and broke and lonely, Barnaby must repair his life. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll find out that doing the foolish thing can lead to redemption.
As a corporate "undertaker" for a mergers and acquisitions firm in New York, Carol MacLean travels from factory to factory, firing blue-collar workers who remind her of her father and the kids she grew up with. The payoff is huge: If Carol works hard enough, her boss has promised to make her CEO of one of the firm's holdings. Just when it seems like her dream might come true, on a trip that takes her away from New York to a desperate fishing town in coastal Massachusetts, Carol gets a call from the office: "You're fired."
"Nice Story, Great Read"
After losing her father to whiskey and her mother to cancer, all Prudence has left is skiing. She hitchhikes to a remote ski area in New Mexico - someplace no one would look for her, if they were looking. She manages to land a job with the ski patrol. Their gruff kindness, and the fact that she has nobody else, strengthens her resolve to prove herself on the mountain. So when a blizzard descends as fierce and blinding as God, she refuses to show her fear or be left behind.
Pat, a Vietnam vet finished with marriage and booze, gets his dose of society sitting alone and dry at the local bar. One afternoon, watching a pre-season Red Sox game, he ends up next to a group of loudmouth writers gathered around a man in a wheelchair. The writers get under Pat's skin, and he says something lousy to the big-shot who, it turns out, is also a big-shot writer.