Other People's Money

Justin Cartwright, Author
Justin Cartwright, Bloomsbury, $15 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-60819-273-1
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 04/01/2011
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In this mundane take on life in the era of global financial crisis, Cartwright (In Every Face I Meet) focuses on British bankers behaving somewhat badly, and the repercussions that ripple through one prominent family, and society more broadly. Sir Harry Trevelyan-Tubal is the aged patriarch of Tubal and Co., a privately held bank synonymous with respectability and exclusivity. In poor health, Harry is ensconced in Provence while his son, Julian, handles the business, where, thanks to some unwise dallying with complex financial instruments, things are looking bleak. As Julian engages in backroom maneuvers to shore up the bank, theater producer and playwright Artair MacCleod stops receiving his quarterly stipend from the Tubal family trust that he was granted during his long-ago divorce from Harry's current wife. This failure of payment proves significant when it becomes known to an ambitious young journalist who takes an interest in MacCleod's situation. Cartwright is intent on compassionately portraying regular folks as well as those who operate the levers of power—the bankers are indeed his most convincing characters—but the overall chilly, deflated feeling does few favors for a book that intends to humanize grand contemporary ills. (Apr.)
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