For most of the book, I wanted to crawl between the pages and live there. It is delightfully funny and incredibly apt. Having learned or learned of EnFor most of the book, I wanted to crawl between the pages and live there. It is delightfully funny and incredibly apt. Having learned or learned of English cultural traditions, idioms, foibles, etc., as an outsider myself over my years of living there, I found Fox's approach of "discovering" them to be like a witty echo of my own observational experience (with none of the fear, painful experimentation and rejection that can come with actual expatriate living). Wonderfully enjoyable.
Then, around the chapter on modes of dress, she started to sound a bit like an irrelevant, smug newspaper columnist writing about what the silly youth are up to these days (with no attempt to distinguish this from what the silly youth are up to in other cultures, which would have excused her), and she lost me. The rest felt a bit tired, like the parts of a term paper that are written the night before deadline.
Still, that occurred late enough in the book that it shouldn't put anyone off....more
Pretty useless. About ten pages for the entire Bay of Kotor region (including three on its history), and literally one paragraph on the Tara River CanPretty useless. About ten pages for the entire Bay of Kotor region (including three on its history), and literally one paragraph on the Tara River Canyon. It includes a section on Dubrovnik, knowing that lots of travelers will use that city as a gateway to Montenegro, and then neglects to provide virtually any information on the best ways to get from one to the other (or to get from anywhere to anywhere else, come to think of it)....more
I work for a Wall Street firm - though about as far out in the orbit as one can be while still technically employed - and while I liked this book, I'mI work for a Wall Street firm - though about as far out in the orbit as one can be while still technically employed - and while I liked this book, I'm not sure I would have found it quite so engaging if I didn't recall so vividly the weeks at the center of the narrative, the anxiety that our firm might fail and we might all be jobless, the emails to staff that are quoted by the author (and come off, to me anyway, strangely more sincerely than they did at the time).
Having said that, the level of detail, the feeling of in-the-room-ness, is an extraordinary feat in itself, and Sorkin does a good job (as far as we know, anyway) bringing together the hundreds of interlocking narratives. He makes the decision to give each character the benefit of the doubt as to his motives, never questioning (until the epilogue) their decisions or reasoning. This aspirational approach, applied as it was to a group of people rarely treated in the public imagination as anything other than villains jumping gleefully into grottoes of taxpayer-funded gold coins, felt a bit funny to me for awhile, but began to make sense as Sorkin brought in multiple accounts of the same events and I realized that the characters were happily damning themselves or each other with their own words, and didn't need the author to do it. Sorkin didn't need to call Dick Fuld any names - Fuld's own recollections lay bare enough his strange behavior and catastrophic decisions.
The book's brief is to recall in painstaking detail the events of (primarily) September and October 2008, so there's very little in here about the underlying causes of the financial (let alone economic) crisis; for those issues readers should look elsewhere....more