Chaos Theory; Bad Chemistry) uses the analogous market excesses of the 1690s and the 1990s as dual, parallel settings fo"/>

EXTRAVAGANCE

Gary Krist, Author . Broadway $24 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1330-0

Krist (Chaos Theory; Bad Chemistry) uses the analogous market excesses of the 1690s and the 1990s as dual, parallel settings for a young man's journey up the business ladder as he tries to make his fortune through the stock market. The protagonist of this syncopated narrative is Will Merrick, a precocious young man who moves to the city to try to fulfill his rags-to-riches dreams: in 17th-century London he is a "stock jobber" whose task is to try to capitalize on such new technologies as winches and drainage engines, and on Wall Street during the frenetic dot-com days of the late 1990s he is a financial spy in a high-stakes IPO deal. While he makes his way through the two labyrinthine monetary worlds, a romantic subplot finds Merrick wooing (in both timelines) the rich, strong-willed and mischievous Eliza Fletcher, who leads him through a series of on-again, off-again dates and interludes that cause Merrick to question his identity as a clever rich guy on the make. Krist pulls off an impressive feat with his careful plotting as Merrick bounces back and forth between eras, opportunities and moral quandaries; unfortunately, the London in the 1690s part of the narrative fades as the book progresses, and the love affair is competent but rarely compelling. Nonetheless, Krist's ambition is laudable, and the novel is a worthwhile read, especially when he gets his complex narrative to click on all cylinders. 3-city author tour. (Sept. 24)

Reviewed on: 07/15/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
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