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Union Atlantic

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,580 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
'Union Atlantic' is a deeply involving novel of the modern world. A world in crisis, where individual humanity is pitted against the global marketplace, and we must decide what, in the end, we value most highly.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published 2010 by Tuskar Rock Press (Atlantic Books)
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May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Union Atlantic :

So good even negative reviews are basically recommendations.

One star reviews mention unsympathetic characters, complex prose, ponderous chapters, moral ambiguity. They call it a bad book, I call it

Adam Hasslett is so scary good at words he must've studied writing at Hogwarts.

And he writes fucked-up, pathetic and convoluted characters with staggering empathy.

Like Charlotte, an elderly feminist scholar who loathes unfettered capitalism with a passion rivaled by her strange and elu
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was skeptical. Yes, I had really, really loved his collection of short stories, You Are Not a Stranger Here. But in his NPR interview I heard the description of this novel and it had to do with banking. And all of those things that made our economy nearly collapse. Not that these things aren't important, but I generally don't understand them: swaps and trades and mortgage-backed securities and markets and exchanges.

Turns out that it is about that, but about a lot more than that as well. Like
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In an interview Adam Haslett said: “My interest is always to get as deeply as I can into the minds and spirits of the characters and let the readers empathize or judge as they will”. Well he quite succeeded in doing this in my opinion.

With Union Atlantic he tells the story of group of people whose lives intersected for a little period of time. Haslett gives all dues to each character and easily drew me in making me feel that particular character. The loneliness, the confusion, the passion that
Vestal McIntyre
I love books that put me in the morally compromised position of rooting for a villain. In Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country, for example, we watch Undine Spragg, a creature of pure ambition and greed, as she goes through husband after husband in her search for wealth and status. She leaves in her wake a neglected son and a suicide. More than her downfall, though, I wanted to see her prevail. This phenomenon is old news, I suppose, considering fiendish scene-stealers from Milton's Satan t ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 stars.

Basically what Apeiron said in her beautiful review.

There were a lot of scenes, small and bigger, that were marvelous. This author has a rare, keen eye for interpersonal dynamics and at some point I felt driven to google his age. There is something really mature in the way he brings characters to life - a compassionate yet detached perspective that is highly perceptive and unique.

Just one example, to give you a taste (I'll reuse this as it is the most powerful one without any character
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stefan Löfven
Shelves: fiction

How interesting that this has an average rating of only 3.34. For me, it's one of the strongest novels of the 21st century I've read so far. (Granted, I don't read a lot of current literary fiction.)

It combines the pacing of a thriller, the social acuity of Tom Wolfe, and the phrase-crafting of Jonathan Franzen. I'd rank it above Privileges by Jonathan Dee, a somewhat similar novel. Haslett writes with equal facility about leveraged stock trades and margin calls and the mechanics of gay sex, whi
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Watching the Congressional hearings into Goldman Sachs made me appreciate the prescience of Adam Haslett's brilliant novel, Union Atlantic.

Written in the year before the economic collapse of 2009, Haslett's novel features a young gun investment banker, Doug Fanning, whom we first meet in 1988 when he is stationed on a US naval ship that is escorting Kuwaiti tankers through the Straits of Hormuz. Fanning sees an unidentified plane on his radar, and alerts his commander. A decision is made to fire
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Escrito nas vésperas da grande crise financeira do subprime, dos créditos de risco e da bolha especulativa e imobiliária, Union Atlantic é um livro sobre a economia mundial, mas também sobre pessoas, sobre os medos e as ambições que inexoravelmente vão regendo as vidas de cada um.
Iniciei a leitura deste livro com receio de não ter conhecimentos suficientes para compreender alguns termos técnicos que se adivinhavam: swaps, subprime, créditos de risco, etc. No entanto, o autor só recorre a uma lin
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, with so many beautiful scenes, insightful observations and interesting characters. But the first chapters are pretty boring.

Still wondering how this got the Lambda, because the LGBT-part is just so minor.

Stephanie Sun
Union Atlantic has everything one could need from a contemporary novel, except for, perhaps, a sense of humor. Which isn't to say that it isn't a pleasurable read: it is. Just not exactly... satisfying.

Much of the pleasure here comes from Haslett's prose. Haslett knows exactly when to flex his muscles: in conjuring up the romance of a New England summer; the romance of youth; the romance of a secret, old, and useless pain; and, of course, the romance of money, both kept safe and played with.

Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was about 100 pages into this novel and continually thought, "Why am I reading this?" Then I just got to a point where I couldn't put it down and THEN IT STATED TO TOUCH MY SOUL TO THE POINT OF OPEN-JAWEDNESS. WTF ADAM HASLETT. I was so scared that this was going to be nothing like "You Are Not A Stranger Here," but it was of the same brilliant caliber.

Honestly, if I could have written one character in my life it would either be Lisbeth or Doug from Union Atlantic. This novel was so unde
Sep 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like a 2.5 for me. Haslett's latest book, the NBA nominated Imagine Me Gone, is probably my favorite novel of the past year, and I also thoroughly enjoyed his Pulitzer nominated book of short stories. So this came as somewhat of a major disappointment for me. I just couldn't get into the minutiae of the banking business that the convoluted plot revolves around ; it played out like an even more boring version of The Big Short, nor was I interested in the scenes set on a war ship or in the Ku ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot believe that this book existed in the world for six years before I read it. Haslett is now up there with my must-read favourite contemporary authors and I'll read anything he writes. His two novels and one short story collection show tremendous range and skill and intelligence and wisdom and I want more from him as soon as possible please.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If, when you started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you spent the first chapter or so hoping the banking/industrial explanations would end, this is probably not going to be an ideal read. If, like me, you've been riveted by the behind-the-scenes drama of the banking crisis for the past 5ish years, Adam Haslett's Union Atlantic is the perfect accompaniment to the daily paper: a humanization of society's current villain class without any attempt to apologize or uncomplicate their choices ...more
Larry H
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Doug Fanning, a cocky war hero, is a tremendously successful banker in Boston, where he works for a major financial institution. Having grown up the son of a housekeeper in a working-class suburb of Boston, his competitive nature has taken him to the top of his profession, giving him authority for multi-million-dollar financial transactions all over the world. Charlotte Graves is an eccentric former teacher whose family has long had roots in the wealthy Boston suburb of Finden. She lives with he ...more
Rebecca Foster
Another capable fictional response to the banking crisis. Main character Doug Fanning is seemingly invincible: he thinks he is perfect and untouchable – that the property dispute threatening his mansion will just go away, that he can have an offhand sexual relationship with a teenage boy and no one will be any the wiser, and that he can commit fraud without getting caught.

When his inevitable fall comes and he is returned to the Middle East setting where he experienced his first humiliation in Gu
Bookmarks Magazine
Although most reviewers praised Haslett's ambitious debut novel, they agreed on little else. Some extolled his richly imagined and beautifully depicted characters, while others denounced them as overly simplistic ciphers. Critics regarded Haslett's writing by turns as elegant, overwrought, graceful, and awkward, and they generally considered the wealth of financial information he imparts ""so unobtrusive that he teaches a great deal without appearing pedagogical"" (San Francisco Chronicle). Howe ...more
Very good indeed. It's a little shaggy in places but the writing is beautiful and it is just a smart novel - filled with ideas and things to ponder. Shocking - in a good way - ending.
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adam Haslett’s 2002 short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here explored topics we often conceal from others: solitude, suicide, mental illness, and death. These themes are present in all of Haslett’s exquisitely crafted stories. Haslett possesses an exceptional gift of bringing together characters with very different values, social statuses, and sexual orientations. As an anthropologist for wayward souls and misfits, Haslett is fascinated with the beauty and learning that emerge from the ...more
Jim Leffert
Jul 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At its core, this is a novel about three well-drawn characters—a clash between two of them and their impact on a third, whose identity is still emerging. Doug Fanning is a driven young man, a military veteran and son of an alcoholic single mom, who is helping his boss, Jeffrey Holland, turn conservative Boston bank Union Atlantic into a money-making powerhouse through far-flung investments. He builds an outrageously-sized mansion in the suburb Finden (think Weston and Wellesley combined), and in ...more
Karl Bemesderfer
If you take the Tom Wolfe of "Bonfire of the Vanities" and give him John Updike's gifts as a prose stylist, you get Adam Haslett. Haslett is as meticulous an observer of social mores as Claire Massoud, which is about as highly as I can praise any author, but whereas her prose often cuts to the bone it rarely soars. Haslett is capable of moments of surprising lyricism in a novel whose themes are international monetary finageling and a lawsuit about the ownership of a parcel of land. Here for exam ...more
Phillip Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Japhy Grant
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a huge fan of Adam Haslett for a long time and eagerly awaited the release of his first novel. Union Atlantic is very much a novel of the moment and captures the current mood of nagging doubt, plain-faced greed and nostalgia soaked apathy that has settled over the country.

While the characters that populate the novel: a mercenary banker who's hollowed himself out so as to be a better instrument to others, a self-righteous aging school teacher whose liberalism has accomplished nothing mo
Adam Haslett is a talented writer. He has a gift for crafting beautiful sentences (that are easy to digest) and for depicting lush scenes of grandeur or beauty (that are easy to imagine). Based on this alone, Union Atlantic is a fun read.

The tale of a rags-to-riches banker with little to no scruples who is eventually taken down by the good manners and strong ethics of his Brahmin betters, Union Atlantic assigns villains and protagonists to the financial crisis.

Haslett has taken the trouble to re
Apr 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sherman Alexie wrote in "Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" that good books give you boners. Union Atlantic should qualify under this criteria...and for its special shout outs to Williams College (page 125), Keats (203), Whitman (224), and a tiny photo of Kafka on the wall of a dorm room of a gay college student who just sounds cute (296) - "Alex had asked her what Nate's status was-gay or straight, available or taken" (295).

But (and this is a big but), the characters are so unlikable, e
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Union Atlantic,” Adam Haslett’s first novel, is the best fiction I’ve read to address the recent house of cards financial near-collapse on Wall Street. If that conjures up college nightmares of classes in economics theory, this novel couldn’t be further from that image. The clever plot brings a Katharine Hepburn-like retired school teacher and her fight to save her family’s long held lakefront Connecticut property into the story of an amoral trader who illegally (maybe) builds a McMansion next ...more
2 1/2

A pesar de que la historia se ambienta en los Estados Unidos de hace una década, esta novela aborda un tema que, lamentablemente, no deja de estar de actualidad por más que pasen los meses. Una visión cruda y realista de lo que sucede cuando unos pocos se dedican a jugar con el sistema financiero; y de como resulta fácil que se salgan con la suya, porque todo es cuestión de confianza, y no se puede dejar que el sistema colapse. Aunque es excesivamente técnica y compleja en algunos de sus pl
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Arnie
I can't say that I loved this novel the way I did Adam Haslett's brilliant, beautiful collection of short stories You Are Not a Stranger Here (to be fair, I can only think of one or two books I loved THAT much in the last two years) but this novel did reaffirm my impression that Haslett is a brilliant writer.

It took me a while to get into this novel (which is weird actually, considering that his short stories were able to get a death grip on my heart within very few pages) but it has a quiet, n
J. Maximilian Jarrett II
Yet another 21st century novel that was gushingly/eagerly recommended ( by the New Yorker) and a several other reviewers I have trusted over the years, fails to truly engage me. I think with the little time left and so many , many books to read, I will no longer waste any more time with new books by 21st century novellists written and published in English (as mothertongue) in the so called literary metropole after 2010, because I just "can't get no satisfaction" there. Better to stick with the l ...more
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Buddy read - Aug 16th, 2015 115 15 Aug 23, 2015 02:03PM  
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“Boredom is easy. Which is why sadness hides there so readily. But don’t be fooled for long. Dying of boredom. There’s reason behind that idiom. It’ll kill you sure enough.” 1 likes
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