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Union Atlantic
     

Union Atlantic

3.2 27
by Adam Haslett
 

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From the acclaimed author of Imagine Me Gone and the Pulitzer Prize finalist You Are Not A Stranger Here, a stunning, masterful portrait of our modern gilded age.
 
At the heart of Union Atlantic lies a test of wills between a retired history teacher, Charlotte Graves—who has suddenly begun to hear her two dogs

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Union Atlantic 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
cnnllsn More than 1 year ago
Encompassing a range of topics and situations from success at work, disaffected citizenry, to sexual and familial relationships, this novel weaves a strong plot that made me not want to stop reading. Reading it each morning on the subway I almost missed my stop each time. It really pulls you in and answers modern personal questions that have crossed all of our minds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tomthom1 More than 1 year ago
Haslett's writing is swift and incisive. He takes you to the heart of our conflicted times. By playing off the two main characters, he examines the modern tension between traditionalist and progressive, one with a life bounded by rules, the other in a life of seizing opportunities. This is Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" for the 21st century.
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Brad_the_nook_nerd More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Union Atlantic and found it to be quite a page turner. It didn't have the same level of depth of Adam Haslett's collection of stories in You Are Not a Stranger here, but I found it both thought provoking and entertaining at the same time. I enjoyed seeing the financial crisis for so many different perspectives and I think the author does a good job of probing the perspective of the regulatory establishment though the character of Henry--something we don't really see in the press. The story of the bank crisis in Union Atlantic is that of a minor problem that becomes a major problem in the cover-up--an idea that clearly transcends the financial crisis.
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bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Watching the Congressional hearings into Goldman Sachs made me appreciate the prescience of Adam Haslett's brilliant novel, Union Atlantic. Haslett's novel features a young gun investment banker, Doug Fanning, whom we first meet in 1988 when he is stationed on a US naval ship that is escorting Kuwaiti tankers through the Straits of Hormuz. An Iranian passenger jet with 290 people on it was shot down by the Americans. The incident gets covered up, as well as the fact that Fanning failed to tell his commander that the jet was ascending, not descending as the commander was told. This incident leads Fanning to become the kind of man who later sets in motion a financial disaster that threatens the U.S. banking system. Fanning becomes a big success as an investment banker at Union Atlantic. He takes risks there as well, and as long as he produces big profits for the bank and in turn himself, he can cut all the corners he likes. His boss is willfully ignorant of Fanning's schemes. When Fanning builds a huge McMansion next to property owned by Charlotte Graves, he underestimates her. The land was owned by her grandfather, and Charlotte believes his house is obscene. Charlotte, a retired teacher, is eccentric, slipping into insanity. She believes that her two dogs are the incarnated Malcolm X and Cotton Mather, and they frequently share their conflicting advice with Charlotte. Charlotte ends up tutoring Nate, a teenage boy whose father recently committed suicide. He breaks into Fanning's home, and ends up in a dangerous sexual relationship with Fanning. Fanning wants Nate to help get Charlotte off his back, and he is willing to use Nate's vulnerability to get what he wants. When a colleague working for Fanning runs a scheme that unravels, Charlotte brother Henry Graves, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, becomes involved in trying to keep this from ruining the entire entangled U. S. economy. (Hank Paulson, anyone?) How Haslett weaves these stories together is a wonder. He doesn't write this novel, he crafts it. It took me along time to read this book because I frequently reread passages, they were that beautiful. Of Nate realizing that Charlotte needed him, he writes These last many months the intuition of others' needs had become Nate's second nature, as if his father's going had cut him a pair of new, lidless eyes that couldn't help but see into a person such as this this: marooned and specter-driven. His characters are vivid and complex. Nate is flailing about, wanting to be loved and willing to debase himself to do it. Charlotte is a genius, bordering on insane, and Fanning is amoral, sinking further into the morass. It is astonishing that a fiction writer created this dialogue in 2008, when Henry the NY Fed Chair says to the CEO of Union Atlantic "Let me start by saying that if you or your board is under the impression that Union Atlantic is too big to fail, you're mistaken. There's no question here of a bailout. If you go under, the markets will take a hit, but with enough liquidity in the system we can cut you loose. I hope you understand that." This, of course, was a bluff. Henry has already begun receiving calls from the Treasury Department. This novel one of the best books I have read this decade. The story is relevant and the characters are powerful. Haslett is a true craftsmen. If you like good fiction, read this.
mandersj More than 1 year ago
Pulitzer prize-winning writer Adam Haslett's debut novel is an epic and multi-layered intricately detailed story. "Union Atlantic" is heavily planted within the banking industry. Helmed by Doug Fanning, a seemingly invincible higher-up within Union Atlantic, one of the country's most powerful banks, Doug skirts the rules and laws of banking, and has made billions for himself as well as the company. Building a sprawling mansion on a piece of land he bought from the town in Finden, Massachusetts, Doug soon finds his nearest neighbor, Charlotte Graves, has a serious beef with him living on what she believes to be her family's land. Charlotte has a beef with many things, and her two dogs often talk her through both sides of whatever issue Charlotte is dealing with at the moment. Meanwhile, a seventeen-year-old boy whom Charlotte is tutoring (more like forcing her unintelligible rants upon) lets his curiosity get the better of him and decides to explore Doug's mansion and finds both Doug and his house captivating. Nate, the teen, and Doug enter into a sexual relationship that is described quite graphically at times. Between Doug's personal life and professional dealings, he's not a likeable guy. He takes advantage of Nate repeatedly, using Nate's body and coercing him into stealing some of Charlotte's personal documents to use against her in the fight over the property Doug's mansion is built on. When an insider trading scam is discovered, Doug decides to go to great lengths to cover it up. To avoid the downfall of Union Atlantic, as well as the downfall of the financial community at large, Doug does everything he can to cover up the scam, falling sadly short. This book is not about happy endings. We find morally corrupt Doug hiding out in the Middle East, right where he was when the book ambiguously began. Nate finds himself being the predator to others that he imagines Doug was to him. Rather than be forced into an assisted-living facility by her brother, Charlotte allows her reality-challenged mind overtake her in the end. Difficult to read, and highly technical within the banking storyline, I found myself disappointed there was not more of a resolution to the problems these characters got themselves into. I'm not sure a single character in this book was likeable, and perhaps that is Haslett's intention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Basis of story sounded interesting. Author's previous short stories were well received. I hate to not a finish a book so I got through it but it was weak. I won't even keep it on my shelf to avoid someone else having to endure it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read numerous first time authors in the past and become a fan of their work. Sadly, Adam Haslett's Union Atlantic fails to capture my attention for future titles. Shallow plot, characters and overall execution led me to put the book down several times before putting it in my Goodwill gift box. I know Haslett's other writing is respected, but why any editor would recommend this story for publication is beyond me. Union Atlanta received a favorable review on NPR, which has been a good source for new books in the past, so I'm now equally disappointed in their review process. So, like the banking and investment community this book attempts to rip, I'm lacking confidence in both Haslett's fiction writing ability and NPR's reviews. Can we trust ANYTHING anymore?
Vita_Brevis More than 1 year ago
This would be a book that I would not highly recommend to friends. The characters seemed to be rather transparent and predictable. The plot was pulled from some of the recent financial headlines and social trends, but were not
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After loving "You are Not a Stranger Here" I was very dissappointed with this book. While the suject was very timely(actually written before the big financial meltdown), most of the characters were not that compelling. If I love a book, I read it every spare minute. With this one, I looked for other things to do with my spare time, and only picked it up to read every few days. His writing is still quite strong, but it clearly wasn't a page turner.
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