Other People's Money
By Justin Cartwright
(Bloomsbury USA, Paperback, 9781608192731, 272pp.)
Publication Date: April 12, 2011
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In a world still uneasy after the financial turmoil of 2008, Justin Cartwright puts a human face on the dishonesties and misdeeds of the bankers who imperiled us. Tubal and Co. is a small, privately owned bank in England. As the company's longtime leader, Sir Harry Tubal, slips into senility, his son Julian takes over the reins-and not all is well. The company's hedge fund now owns innumerable toxic assets, and Julian fears what will happen when their real value is discovered.
Artair Macleod, an actor manager whose ex-wife, Fleur, was all but stolen by Sir Harry, discovers that his company's monthly grant has not been paid by Tubal. Getting no answers from Julian, he goes to the local press, and an eager young reporter begins asking questions. Bit by bit, the reporter discovers that the grant money is in fact a payoff from Fleur, written off by the bank as a charitable donation, and a scandal breaks. Julian's temperament and judgment prove a bad fit for the economic forces of the era, and the family business plunges into chaos as he tries to hide the losses and massage the balance sheet.
A story both cautionary and uncomfortably familiar, Other People's Money is not a polemic but a tale of morality and hubris, with the Tubal family ultimately left searching only for closure. Bold, humane, urbane, full of rich characters, and effortlessly convincing, this is a novel that reminds us who we are and how we got ourselves here.
Justin Cartwright is the author of In Every Face I Meet, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Leading the Cheers, winner of the Whitbread; The Promise of Happiness, winner of the Hawthornden Prize; and White Lightning, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread. He was born in South Africa and now lives in London.
- Other People’s Money opens with two quotations: one from the economist John Maynard Keynes, and one about Henri Matisse’s art studio. How do these two quotations reflect different aspects the novel? How do the worlds of finance and art come together in Other People’s Money?
"A tale half comic and half cautionary—and all compelling—about the financial crisis. Witty, thoughtful, briskly paced and entertaining—a terrific novel about excess, hubris, class and the age-old (usually one-sided) tussle between art and commerce."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"With wit and keen observation, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY is an entertaining, observant, and informative excursion into a distant world surprisingly close at hand." —Booklist