In a recent Daily Beast/Newsweek poll, 44 percent of respondents reported that their personal economic situation currently makes them upset, while close to a third said it makes them downright angry. It’s been about 2 and a half years since the Great Recession began, and there’s a slew of books you can count on to make your situation seem a little bit better if you’re one of the 9.1 percent of Americans who are still unemployed or if you’re a working stiff who can’t seem to get a break. So enjoy this list, dear readers, because a good novel about the economic slowdown can take the pressure off of another grinding week at the office or on the job hunt. … Read More
Like Chatroulette, Union Atlantic, Adam Haslett’s new novel, boasts the inevitability of a work mainlined to the zeitgeist. It seems to have been plucked fully formed from the ether; or if not from there, then at least from the airwaves of Fox News. Doug Fanning, the book’s whorl of selfishness, need, and greed, is today’s Gordon Gekko — a VP at Union Atlantic, a bank too big to fail that’s terrifyingly plausible. Haslett, whose first book of short stories, You Are Not a Stranger Here, was nominated for both the Pulitzer and the Man Booker Prize, isn’t so much interested in detailing the gold of this man’s crowns as he is in the crumbling of the soul behind his smile.
While in the Navy, Fanning read green blips on a radar screen in the Gulf War, clusters of pixels the coordinates of which, if properly interpreted, meant death for the ship, threat, plane, or people they represented. In civilian life, Fanning makes a killing reading similarly abstract numbers on a screen that mean, somewhere, dollars, yen, billions, profit, or loss. … Read More