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Moral Hazard

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Kate Jennings's first novel, Snake, was praised for combining "dry comedy" and "genuine heartbreak"; now she has used the same sweet-and-sour recipe in her second book, Moral Hazard--but with even more raw ingredients. The heroine is thirtysomething Cath, a smiling, punning, do-gooding bien pensant who has somehow ended up in the vicious purlieus of Wall Street, dealing bi ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Fourth Estate (first published 2002)
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Kay Rollison
The amazing thing to me is that this book was written in 2002. I hadn’t heard of the concept of moral hazard until the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, but had I read this book before that time, I would have been much better prepared to understand what was happening in 2008, and to grasp the implications of propping up dodgy financial institutions deemed too big to fail. It is almost as if Jennings predicted what actually happened. ‘It’s a time bomb’, as one character notes.

Kate Jennings is an A
...more
Francene Carroll
This book is very prescient considering it was published several years before the GFC. Despite the greed and stupidity she witnessed on Wall St I think even Kate Jennings must be shocked by just how far things have deteriorated since then. The extent of the government bailout, combined with the naked greed of the financial elite who continue to get richer while the rest of society suffer the consequences of their actions is just staggering.

As I was reading this I kept flicking back to the front
...more
Katie
Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed every sentence of this book. This woman is a powerhouse of a writer--that kind of book where you savor each sentence.

OK: the plot is basically that this middle-aged woman who is a hippie, liberal freelance writer has to take a job on Wall Street to earn some money to see her husband who has early-onset Alzheimer's through his illness. I love how she describes her approach as an "anthropologist," stuck in the corporate world, studying the natives in their habitat. I have
...more
Amy
An interesting story exploring the arrogance of Wall Street (waaayyyy before the 2007 crash, but with an awareness of how brokers were dangerously gambling) juxtaposed with the story of watching a loved one descend into Alzheimer's disease. The writing style is sometimes sparse, which helps to expose the stark difference between these two realities for the protagonist.
Peter
This brief novel really packs a wallop, conveying more meaning and emotion than most books four times its length. Two parallel stories about a woman living two parallel worlds: one as a liberal 60's idealist working in the belly of the beast as a Wall Street speechwriter, and the other as a wife struggling with a beloved husband stricken with Alzheimer's. The novel rarely has the two worlds intersect, which is how the protagonist wanted her life ordered. She hates everything about Wall Street, b ...more
Frederick Bingham
Cath, the main character, is a writer. Her husband, many years older than her, gets Alzheimers and inexorably fades away. She is left to take care of him. At the same time, she gets a job as a speechwriter in a Wall Street investment banking firm. This goes against her liberal education and outlook. She becomes friends with another man at her firm who begins to give her lessons in the world of finance.Cath eventually is forced to make choices in both her personal and professional life that are v ...more
Charlou Lunsford
The willingness to take risks because the costs will be borne by others. Cath seems to live in two different worlds, both seem unreal. Wall Street in 2002, after the crash and it's most interesting to read this book now because, there was, of course, another crash since then. The story isn't about learning those lessons, it's just interesting to see we didn't. Or Wall Street didn't and you can see why. But Wall Street may not be the most difficult world Cath is in. Her husband,older than her, ha ...more
Elyn
Reading this in 2013, 11 years after it was written, I didn't really enjoy the workplace part of the story. I found myself glossing over all of that information in order to get back to the story about the relationship between Cath and her husband. I'm sure that is to a large extent because the husband wife story is one of my nightmares. Married to my best friend who is 11 years my senior I live in fear of the possibility that one day he will forget me.
Robyne
I have read this book three times in the last 2 months, the most recent reading was for a book club I am in. I am still overwhelmed by how brilliantly it juxtaposes the decline of the financial markets of the 1990's with the diminishing of mind and body of the narrator, Kate's, older husband, Bailey.

Kate Jennings pulls no punches, and even draws you into the jargon of the financial world. This is a short novel, but what a gem.
Kelly (TheWellReadRedhead)
The Alzheimer's side of the story was heartbreaking. But the financial side was so filled with Wall Street jargon, it was hard to keep my interest. I see how the two stories were supposed to overlap, I appreciate what she was trying to do...but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was written for those of us in, say, the education field. Ha.
Jane
Compared to Snake, I found this book boring and superficial. I skipped through most of it and just read the parts about Cath and her husband battling the onset of dementia. The bits about her job in the financial industry were extremely dull.
Susan
According to the NY Times, this is a fine novel. It is a short novel. It's painless to read but I just don't get it.
Loretta
A quick and easy read that plays two stories against each other.
Athena
i cried. twice. and i still didn't care for it.
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