Other People’s Money

Monday, 26 December, 2011

One of the nicest presents in the Rainy Day stocking was Other People’s Money by Justin Cartwright. It’s very much a novel of and for our times. The influence of Gatsby cannot be overstated, but Other People’s Money is not a clone of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. Rather, it is a meditation on morality in the time of the hedge fund, which makes it a very different type of book altogether. London, not New York, is the hub of Cartwright’s world and its clubs, tennis courts and restaurants are where the social dramas of the moneyed class are acted out.

“A little drunk they enter the restaurant conspiratorially as if they know something amusing not revealed to anyone else. They sit down at a low black table. Other Peoples Money Kimberley’s skirt is halfway up her thighs. She has great thighs because she comes from the sporting New England clan of the Fitzhughs, related in some way to the Kennedys. They all look fantastically, aggressively healthy, until they die young. Her face is not exactly beautiful, but it is engaging, with memorable, strong tomboy features, and an Irish broadness between the eyes and the cheeks, which must have been a Darwinian thing, an adaptation to the coastal winds off the Irish Sea. At the same time, Kim is unmistakably American. How is it that from a huge, polyglot nation, you can almost always pick out an American face in Europe? Kim makes her feel a little limp and flabby, but then Morné is working on that problem. Her glutes, apparently located right in the middle of each lobe of the bottom, are hurting. Fusion food, ordered by Kim arrives on black plates — little parcels of this and that accompanied by very thin slivers of Oriental vegetables or perhaps fruit, and emblematic parts of tasty creatures — a crab, a sea urchin, a lobster, a pigeon — decorate each plate. It looks like an elegant cemetery of tiny animals.”


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