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On the Floor: A Novel
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On the Floor: A Novel

2.92  ·  Rating Details ·  201 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
"The smartest financial novel since "The Bonfire of the Vanities," and the first with a fully drawn female heroine."--Frank Partnoy, bestselling author of "F.I.A.S.C.O.: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader" and "Wait: The Art and Science of Delay"
Longlisted for the Orange Prize
A hard-living investment banker has three days to decide her destiny in this thrilling nov
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Picador (first published January 1st 2008)
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May 24, 2012 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Really wanted to like this one - have lived my life in a largely male profession, not Wall Street per se, but close enough that the traders, quants, masters of the universe, and big swinging [you know whats] cross my path with some regularity - so I was intrigued by this tale of a female pioneer in the City. And while my exposure to the roaring 80s was just a single summer job at Lehman, the legendary excess of those times informed my coming of age. But Aifric Campbell, despite knowing her milie ...more
I’m honestly a little surprised that this currently has a 2.85 rating. I know I’m only giving it a three, but I tend to rate more harshly than Goodreads. Perhaps it was the hype surrounding this book that led to such disappointment in other readers? I didn’t have any expectations going in.

Since I read this a few months ago, my memory isn’t the freshest, but I think I remember enough to give it a short (a relative term for me) review. Other reviewers already offer a nice plot overview, so I’m jus
Cath Murphy
I started this with loads of anticipation - Orange prize nommed, promising Irish writer and a subject (young financial trader struggles to hold her life together) that sounded fresh and original.

Oh why do I listen to the hype? It wasn't the writing that let this book down - Campbell is skillful enough - it's not the premise, it's the handling of the premise.

After a promising set up (broken love affair, sinister overseas client, bottles of vodka under the bed) the story just falls slowly apart as
Mar 10, 2012 Rose rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although this was longlisted for the Orange Prize, I found it disappointing. The writing style was a bit flowery for me, but having said that Aifric did manage to capture the macho willy waving of the City, a world she clearly knows well, and some of the descriptions were excellent. However, overall the plot was insubstantial and clunky, and as for Geri, well you had to wonder how someone so weak and gullible got to her exalted position in the first place. Shame really, because I feel the novel ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There's much I liked about this book, but particularly that I found the writing very literate and creative and not formulaic. This author is new to me, but I might have guessed she would be good if I had spotted beforehand that the book was based on a short story published in a UEA anthology called Contains Small Parts dating from 2003. Good pedigree!
A. Suiter Clarke
On the Floor follows Geri Molloy, a young woman who got started early and quickly rose to the top as a trader for an investment bank in London. She is gutsy, fierce, and happens to be the only trader that one of the richest investors in Hong Kong will speak to. She's also recovering from a horrible breakup and is facing having to move to China to appease her top client.

Campbell clearly knows her topic and writes about the life and energy of an investment bank with an expert hand. It's a new worl
Rachelle Ayala
Sep 29, 2013 Rachelle Ayala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a fantastic job of painting the investment banking scene from a female point of view. Unfortunately, the protagonist, Geri Molloy, is in over her head. Despite a talent for mathematics, which she hides, she is kept by her company because a major client in Hong Kong happens to like her and will only deal with her firm through her. This recluse, Felix, appears to play the role of a fairy godfather. He has a paternalistic relationship to Geri and gives her Yoda like guidance, readin ...more
Ligra Nera
Šios knygos autorė pati yra dirbusi banke, todėl puikiai išmano finansų pasaulio gudrybes. Knygą galmėtų vadinti pusiau autobiografija, nes daugybę faktų rašytoja ėmė iš savo patirties dirbant finansų srytije. Campbell yra parašiusi tris (kiek man žinoma) knygas iš kurių į lietuvių kalbą išversta tik ši.
Skaitydama pirmus penkiasdešimt puslapių nesupratau visiškai nieko. Negalėjau įsimint vardų, glumino daugybė finansinių terminų. Perpratus ir įsidėmėjus kas už ką atsakingas ir kas ką veikia fina
May 26, 2012 Sophia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our protagonist is a woman, Geri Molloy, and one of the main themes of the novel is how a woman can make it as a trader in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world. Geri has been abandoned by her lover and is in the throes of heartbreak, trying to perform under pressure and fighting her natural urge to crumble and fall apart.

Geri has caught the eye of one of the financial world's biggest fishes. Felix, something of an eccentric recluse who lives in Hong Kong, is attracted (in a purely platonic wa
Gloria Feit
This novel, written by an author with substantial background in the securities industry, flits between the hard-nosed life of a floor trader with a unique talent, a female in the midst of macho men, and a lovelorn female, torn between living up to her talent and a yearning for an ex-lover. And she has to choose, by the end of the book, between capitalizing on her abilities and going off in some new direction.

Geri Molloy, 28 years old and with little or no training or education, lands a job on th
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
Originally published at

On the Floor has a fascinating premise: it's set against the Gulf War of 1991 and focuses on a career I know little about: investment banking. I was immediately drawn to Geri as a character. She lives large, plays hard, and works hard. It's clear she can't keep up the pace, but I was looking forward to the journey. While there was much I liked in this novel, the pacing was uneven. Some parts were filled with suspense, while others were drag
This is another one for which I wish you could give half stars - two is probably overly harsh and it isn't quite good enough for three.

I started this book with rather low expectations, but was intrigued by the concept - a woman in high finance in the 1990s and written by a woman. Something I have some personal experience of, though in the present day. As some of the other reviewers have noted, Ms. Campbell really knows her stuff and gets a lot of the details right. However, there is a lot of sen
Jul 15, 2013 Holly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The premise is intriguing...female in a male dominated world of trading/investments making oodles of money because she has a special gift with numbers and the biggest client of her firm will only do business with her. Even the main characters name, Geri, is evocative of a male/female conundrum. However, what transpires is really a story of a very sad female individual who allows herself to be used and abused in many ways. In fact, it's a whole ...more
Leona Sheehy
This book was a bit disappointing. I found it hard to get into at the start as it is written in a 'cut and thrust' way, although this is the perfect way to write the action on the floor of a big stockbrokers. The main character herself is not likeable. This probably a good thing as she needs to start to not like herself in order to move on. I felt that the book could have been a bit longer for the denouement to really get under my skin and all in all i felt that it was a bit lackluster and predi ...more
I thought this book was quite cleverly written in the way that the author uses the backdrop of the reaction of the world to the first war in Iraq to symbolise the utter destruction happening in the protagonist's life. Geri is a wreck and it's hard to have much sympathy for her, you just want her to pull herself together. None of the characters are that personable, but I think this adds realism to the novel. I liked the ambiguity of the ending and I was glad that it didn't end up being about her ...more
Dec 11, 2013 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The rather hackneyed world of London securities trading is covered in this romance / drama novel.

Geri is an Irish trader who does some sort of work and has a special relationship with some guy who is important for the bank or trading house or whatever they are. She has broken up with an unprepossessing colleague and becomes involved with a takeover deal for a armanents manufacturer on the eve of the first Gulf war.

The bits on the trading floor are almost as dull and tedious as the real thing.
Sita Narayanan
The book was a good read, it was easy to follow the plot. It was my first book with a setting in the financial world and kudos to the author for making it easy to follow without bogging us down with financial details. But for a strong character like the heroine who has a past and present to reconcile with, an eccentric client, a prodigious mathematical talent and working in a man eat man world,among men, somewhere the heroine comes out as fragile, as if she cannot work things out. It confirms th ...more
Cecily Paterson
Jan 01, 2013 Cecily Paterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-novels
Beautifully written - quite pacey with a slow build. The characterisation was very strong, and backstory worked well. Two things that weren't perfect: the author should have introduced the PieMan character in the first two chapters and foreshadowed the specifics of the ending a little more. But I'll definitely seek out more A Campbell in the future.
Washington Post
The first chapter of Aifric Campbell’s debut novel, “On the Floor,” is the literary equivalent of a movie filmed with a hand-held camera. The action is choppy, it’s hard to get your bearings and you’re left with the uncomfortable sensation of having missed something important. But the setup is clear — and, ultimately, hard to resist. Read the review:
Nancy Freund
If you want a fly-on-the-wall view of London finance, through a woman's POV, this is it. It starts out a tableau of characters (caricatures, maybe) but soon enough, the plot evolves. Leaves you with a protagonist you'll think and wonder about after the novel's final page. How IS Geri Molloy doing today?
Sep 09, 2013 Huluriasquias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very peculiar book. It starts we the promise (or at least the anticipation) of the adventures of a woman in the trade floor.
The story soon veers into the inner landscape of the protagonist and shows a transition in her life that lasts maybe 5 days but told with lots of hindsight and back stories. It was not what I expected but it kept me entertained anyway.
Jul 12, 2013 Shana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, adult
The beginning and the very end (the last few pages, really) were both good, but the middle dragged. And what was with the revelations about her relationship with men in her life... (those forced on her and those she had internalized...). This review is as mixed up as the book made me feel. Not really recommended.
Feb 19, 2014 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sort-of plucky heroine suffers some unpleasant betrayals. I liked the Irish woman in England-ness, the details of the trading world, and the crisp writing. The end left me a little cold. It might remind you of Tara French's novels.
Amanda Blohm
Jul 16, 2013 Amanda Blohm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Total crap. The author waxes what they think is poetic, but is, in fact just annoying and distracting. The plot is an attempt at being clever but falls far short. Not at all impressed and do not recommend.
Sheera Waisman
The novel starts off well enough at first then deteriorates into cliched emotions and absurd situations. The writing is good, the story is horrible. Given the author's background in capital markets, I was hoping for something much better.
Nov 21, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a whip smart, highly readable book reeking of authenticity and intelligence.
I am mighty jealous of an author who can rise to being the first MD of a London trading floor and then turn her hand to creative writing gaining a PHD from the University of Easr Anglia in the process.
I found this to be an utterly fascinating and riveting story about a troubled woman working in high-stakes investment banking in London. Light on plot and she makes you mad to save her in her free fall, but I couldn't put it down...
Jackie Cain
Jan 05, 2016 Jackie Cain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book uncomfortable because it evoked a world falling apart, geopolitically, changes in the financial system and personally for Geri. Then I thought that it did evoke that so well that it deserved good stars. Worth a read but glad that I live my life, not hers.
Jun 18, 2013 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a free giveaway. Geri establishes herself as a star on the trading floor only to suffer ultimate betrayal. Through betrayal and after being kidnapped, Geri finally reevaluates her life and starts to move forward after months of drinking herself into oblivion.
Linda Wallis
Aug 28, 2012 Linda Wallis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a load of old tosh!
Deeply unpleasant characters and not great writing.
I only finished this book because it was from my reading group.
If you are supposed to feel sorry for the stressful life that stock traders have then it didn't work.
Why anyone would read this is beyond me.
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Aifric Campbell is the author of On the Floor, longlisted for the Orange Prize. Campbell spent thirteen years at Morgan Stanley, where she became the first woman managing director on the London trading floor. She left to earn a Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of East Anglia and currently teaches at Imperial College, London. Campbell’s writing has been awarded a fellowship at UCLA and r ...more
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