Monday, June 04, 2012

Book review: "The Darlings"

I mentioned a few days ago that I'd gone to the library and returned with a load of books. One of them with a great cover photo and design (yes, I judge a book by its cover, more on that in a minute), was The Darlings, by Cristina Alger.

Set in post-2008 Wall Street economic and financial crash, Alger, a lawyer and a former NY financial analyst at Goldman Sachs herself, writes realistically of that world which most people don't see, and what they have seen due to the Wall Street crash of 2008, revolted them.

However, she brought each character to life in a way where they were not totally good not totally bad, but just people in a sphere like any other person, trying to make the best professional and family decisions they could. I admired her for painting each of her characters with realistic foibles and heroic impulses, conflicted and human. I also enjoyed the realism she brought to the table regarding the world of high finance. It wasn't overly complicated so it could be understood, but full of enough details to make it realistic and credible.

The pace was fast and page-turning. I could hardly wait to see how it all turned out, and with 50 or so pages to go I did peek at the end, something I never do. And the end was almost the best thing about the book! I still disagree with the jacket's proposal that this is a book 'of epic proportions,' a singularly aggravating thing to say about a debut book out a few mere weeks, but overall the book itself is tremendous. It is interesting to read because the story is good, and it is a pleasure to read because the writing is good. The combination of the two these days is rare enough, and I look forward to more from Ms Alger.

A note on book covers: I've mentioned on this blog and on Facebook that the media is dark these days. The material is often depicting evil, murder, crimes, or terror. As a result, I've noticed that most movie posters are dark, reflecting the main themes of the content. I mean actually dark, colors of black and gray permeate the promotional material these days. It is the same with book covers. If a cover is dark it most likely is of a subject matter I won't want to read. As I was selecting The Darlings, I had noticed moments before that most of the books on the new releases shelf were dark. The beautiful photograph of New York edged in gold, with plenty of white space,  with bright red title, was a refresher for my eyes. On that basis, I picked it up to read the synopsis on the cover. I'm glad I did.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

I have also noticed the popularity of dark, destructive, violent etc. themes in the media lately! And I'm so glad to have found your lovely blog!