The Exchange-Rate Between Love and Money

Thomas Leveritt, Author
Thomas Leveritt, Author Simon & Schuster $15 (355p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9726-1
Reviewed on: 04/06/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-09-951345-2
Paperback - 359 pages - 978-1-84655-115-4
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4464-1275-6
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A cast of aimless thirtysomethings vying for love and cash inhabit Leveritt's Bosnian war romance. Best friends Bannerman and Frito decamp to Sarajevo in 2003 to make their fortunes in a city flooded with redevelopment funds. No sooner are they settled than Bannerman falls in love with Frito's girlfriend, Clare, a Swiss war crimes investigator. Frito, who's a little bit crazy, becomes obsessed with the local beer and later draws Bannerman into a pharmacy scheme with a black marketer. Clare eventually warms to Bannerman, and her preoccupation with finding war criminal Petar Rankovic draws Bannerman into her professional life-and into cahoots with a crew of Anglo-American ""security consultants."" The novel's multiple plotlines and chronologies, choppy text and Balkan sensibilities create a unique reading experience, though the characters' moral and emotional poverty beg for a more nuanced treatment. So many characters ""hanging onto decades-long adolescences"" are wearying, and the intrigue angles are more confusing than they should be (there's a glossary). It's a noble effort, but this brew of lad lit and Le Carré is very much an acquired taste.
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