By Cristina Alger
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143122753, 352pp.)
Publication Date: December 24, 2012
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A Bonfire of the Vanities for our times, by an author who "knows her way around 21st-century wealth and power" (The Wall Street Journal) Since he married Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to all the luxuries of Park Avenue. But a tragic event is about to catapult the Darling family into the middle of a massive financial investigation and a red-hot scandal. Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties really lie.
Debut novelist Cristina Alger is a former analyst at Goldman Sachs, an attorney, and the daughter of a Wall Street financier. Drawing on her unique insider's perspective, Alger gives us an irresistible glimpse into the highest echelons of New York society—and a fast-paced thriller of epic proportions that powerfully echoes Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children and reads like a fictional Too Big to Fail.
Cristina Alger graduated from Harvard College and from New York University Law School. She has worked as an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., and as an attorney at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr. She lives in New York City, where she was born. Alger is at work on her second novel, coming soon from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking.
Bernie Madoff's investment scandal inspired financial analyst Christina Alger to write a novel based on the personal and financial turmoil created by the collapse. It's called The Darlings, and Alan Cheuse â�� writing professor at George Mason University â�� has a review. More at NPR.org
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“Alger’s novel is a realist fiction that marks the revival of the finance novel today. . . . Never before have stories seemed more important. It’s one of the virtues of Alger’s novel that it brings this point home to us—from finance, into fiction. And (hopefully) back.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
“Alger, who has worked at Goldman Sachs as well as at a white-shoe law firm, knows her way around 21st-century wealth and power, and she tells a suspenseful, twisty story.”
—Wall Street Journal
“What happens to the Darling family in the course of a weekend is what carries this tale along, but it’s Alger’s description of quintessential New Yorkers, and how they survive, that adds the extra layer. . . . Alger has what it takes, in the best sense of the phrase.”
“Forget Gossip Girl: If you really want a peek into the scandalous lives of New York City's elite upper class, Alger's debut novel—set during the financial downturn of 2008—gets you pretty close. . . . The Darlings moves so fast that it feels more like a thriller than a social drama.”
“Penned by a former banker, this is a dishy yet thoughtful portrait of greed gone too far . . . A page-turner.”
“Two parts Too Big to Fail, one part The Devil Wears Prada, Alger’s debut is taut and compelling.”
“Probably the most compulsively readable fiction to come out of the Wall Street financial scandal so far. . . . Alger knows the ins and outs of both Wall Street and an upscale NYC lifestyle, nailing all the details . . . Delicious reading.”
“…A financial thriller with a tone that fits somewhere between the novels of Dominick Dunne . . . and Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities.”
“Cristina Alger is so good, you just know she’s an inside trader—as intimately familiar with the inner workings of Wall Street investment banks as she is with haute Manhattan social life. She’s also a gifted storyteller. The Darlings is an utterly compelling novel, as knowing about family as it is about money and social status, and may be the best literary product of the financial crisis to date.”
—Jay McInerney, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Life
“For those who have only gazed up at the palatial residences of Manhattan, this is a glimpse from the penthouse down.”
—Tom Rachman, New York Times bestselling author of The Imperfectionists
“Cristina Alger’s debut novel offers a fresh and modern glimpse into New York’s high society. I was hooked from page one.”
—Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of Last Night at the Chateau Marmont
“A rare, glittering glimpse into Manhattan’s banks, bedrooms, and private clubs, a material and psychological world rendered with extraordinary detail. A smart, gripping tale . . . complex and mesmerizing.”
—Sarah Houghteling, author of Pictures at an Exhibition
“Cristina Alger has written a racing, vivid, multi-vocal chronicle of the new gilded age, with equal shades of Jay McInerney and Bernie Madoff. Start reading it and in three hundred pages or so you'll feel like a consummate New York insider, too.”
—Charles Finch, author of A Burial at Sea