On the Floor
By Aifric Campbell
(Picador, Hardcover, 9781250028396, 256pp.)
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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“The smartest financial novel since The Bonfire of the Vanities, and the first with a fully drawn female heroine.”—Frank Partnoy, bestselling author of F.I.A.S.C.O.: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader and Wait: The Art and Science of Delay
Longlisted for the Orange Prize
A hard-living investment banker has three days to decide her destiny in this thrilling novel.
It has been 182 days of vodka and insomnia since Geri Molloy got dumped. A twenty-eight-year-old investment banker with a rare knack for numbers, Geri counts the days since her breakup with the same determination that has made her serious capital on her firm’s London trading floor. But it is January of 1991, and war in the Middle East is about to shake up the markets—and maybe also change the course of her career.
The firm’s biggest client is Felix Mann, a reclusive hedge fund manager in Hong Kong, who will only talk to Geri. But Geri is being pushed to her breaking point, and several rivals are hungry for a seat at the table. When she finds herself caught up in a high-stakes takeover, Felix is game for the power play—but his price tag is Geri’s future.
At once fiercely intelligent and utterly gripping, Aifric Campbell's On the Floor is a sharp-edged story about love and money, the cruel appraisals we make of one another, and what it really means for a woman to take control of her life.
AIFRIC CAMPBELL spent thirteen years at Morgan Stanley, where she became the first woman managing director on the London trading floor. She left to earn a Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of East Anglia and currently teaches at Imperial College, London. Campbell has been awarded a fellowship at UCLA and residencies at Yaddo.
“Of all the contemporary heroines, Geri Molloy might be the most badass. Watch out, Lisbeth Salander.” —Marie Claire
“Even finance-phobic readers will find themselves drawn into the intrigue and high-stakes wheeling and dealing…. Campbell delivers a Back to the Future tour of a workplace long before Sheryl Sandberg was telling women how to lean in at the office.” —The Washington Post
“On the Floor really finds its legs when Geri gets caught in the middle of [a] contentious takeover of a defense contractor, resulting in shifting loyalties and backstabbing intrigue. There's even an abduction thrown in to keep the pot boiling. It's much what you'd find in any Stephen Frey bestseller, and in truth, the guilty pleasures here come from embracing the utterly expected.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“So intelligent and well written… [A] deftly handled meditation on how we create value and what it means to be a person in a world always in flux… [Campbell's] stock is sure to rise in the years to come.” —Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“The forces motivating Geri and her generation are the same ones that James Joyce—Campbell's compatriot and like her a former bank employee—identified almost a century before… [But] Campbell’s real achievement here is her heroine’s voice. Spirited, sardonic, wounded, [and] funny, Geri remains compelling… Campbell is a gifted storyteller, and possesses a rare insight into this secretive world.” —Paul Murray, Slate Book Review
“On the Floor’s appeal is broad....It’s that rare work of fiction in which the financial world functions as more than a mere backdrop.”—Hephzibah Anderson, Bloomberg
“[On The Floor] plunges straight into the financial world’s heart of darkness.” —Los Angeles Times
“The fast-paced narrative brings to life the London banking world of the go-go early Nineties, just before the quants took over, with unexpected consequences that would eventually result in the Great Recession… Campbell knows this world intimately, and she pushes the boat of plot out beyond predictability, while keeping her characters believable and engaging.” —Women’s Wear Daily.com
“Part of what makes Irish author Aifric Campbell’s [On the Floor] work is her refusal to pity her characters… Her tough-talking, irreverent prose engenders an updated take on the Wall Street morality tale.” —The Daily Beast
“Confident, engaging, and incredibly readable… Recalling Bonfire of the Vanities and Wall Street, On the Floor is a work that throws us lock, stock, and barrel into the world of high finance…. a fascinating read—sometimes terrifying, often witty, always engagingly written. Judging from this debut, you can bank on Ms. Campbell to produce wonderful results in the future.” —New York Journal of Books
“Campbell knows the City and she writes like a demon…. An illuminating look at one woman as she tries to figure out what’s really important.” —Laurie Muchnick, Bloomberg
“Campbell, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, punctures the seamy darkness of banking with acute observations… Geri’s self-aware reenactment of Wall Street (a film the traders see as a ‘reconfirmation that greed is good and lunch is for wimps’) is a heart-pounding ride.” —Publishers Weekly
“A riveting loss-of-innocence story sharply informed by the author’s years as a manager on the London trading room floor.” —Library Journal
“Move over, Lisbeth Salander! Geri Molloy is a captivating protagonist---she might not have a dragon tattoo, but her story is riveting. On the Floor is the smartest financial novel since The Bonfire of the Vanities, and the first with a fully drawn female heroine. As someone who worked in the trenches of Wall Street during the 1990s, I can attest that the details are dead right. And I’m still cheering Geri on.”—Frank Partnoy, bestselling author of F.I.A.S.C.O.: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader and Wait: The Art and Science of Delay
“Aifric Campbell knows her subjects intimately, and On the Floor reveals the secrets of high-stakes finance and her heroine’s private lives. Geri Molloy aces her career with pluck and genius. A brilliant and hilarious novel.”—Min Jin Lee, national bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires
“In On the Floor, Aifric Campbell has created the perfect heroine in Geri Molloy: complicated, wildly talented, wary of others yet longing to connect, and haunted by demons both past and present as she navigates the high-flying financial world of the early 1990s. A hugely intelligent and fast-paced novel about what drives us, what fulfills us, and how to tell the difference.”—Emily Rapp, author of The Still Point of the Turning World
"In On the Floor, Campbell's heroine becomes caught in a game of cat and mouse with a twisted mastermind, her career and soul at stake. She's a cross between Sherman McCoy and Bridget Jones."—John Coates, author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf
“A sharp, knowing, and utterly gripping account of a young woman's hazardous voyage through the shark-infested waters of high finance, where the most profound emotions are often traded as insider information. In Geri Molloy, the author has created an unforgettable heroine, a damaged but resourceful woman struggling to retain her humanity in a world of secrets, lies, and greed. Aifric Campbell has brilliantly combined the best elements of the modern financial thriller and the nineteenth-century coming-of-age story to create a commanding work of fiction.”—Stephen Amidon, author of Human Capital and Security
“Aifric Campbell’s gripping novel is set in the tough world of the financial market and the high-octane trading floor, but it is about so much more than that. On the Floor is thrilling, morally searching, and beautifully written contemporary fiction, proof that the novel can be urgently relevant as well as utterly compelling.”—Joseph O’Connor, author of Star of the Sea and Ghost Light
“On the Floor is a funny-yet-serious coming-of-age story about a young woman who finally grows up and takes control.”—The Independent (London)
“Impressively constructed...A short, snappy, and ultrasmart drama.”—Daily Mirror (London)
“A good, literary read…On the Floor is a wonderful look into the financial world of the nineties; a time before banking became ruled by scientists and geeks.”—The Irish Examiner
“Enjoyable...Campbell knows this world well, so it all feels authentic.”—Irish Sunday Times
“On the Floor is a riveting novel from a unique talent. Aifric Campbell effortlessly conjures the action and excitement of the trading room floor creating a novel that explores the consequences of risk taking and ultimately thrills from start to finish.”—Irish Tatler