Confession$ of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy

Doug Stumpf, Author . HarperCollins $24.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-06-088953-1

A Wall Street comedy of manners by Vanity Fair deputy editor Stumpf, this fast-paced debut novel updates The Bonfire of the Vanities . Gregarious young Brazilian émigré Aguilar “Gil” Benicio shines shoes at a prominent firm, where his customer base is almost entirely white, male and exorbitantly pampered: “This traders make more money than movie stars,” Gil notes. When a janitor friend is unjustly fired, Gil relates the details to Glossy magazine writer Greg Waggoner, who suspects the incident masks a insider-trading scandal. The conceit of the book, in which Gil and Greg share narrating duties as they recap their effort to uncover the crime, is that the book is Greg's novel, a fictionalized version of the scoop that got away. It's a lousy setup, and vital clues that come too easily don't help. Neither do Gil's unvarnished dialect and his idolization of the traders and of Greg, who plays Henry Higgins to Gil's Eliza Doolittle. Rare indeed, too, is the female character who comes through this tale without suffering degradation or scorn. Yet the book is funny, and beneath the humor (and a lot of sex and sex talk), Stumpf takes on assimilation, class betrayal and common decency with seriousness. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2007
Release date: 07/01/2007
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-06-088954-8
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