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Das Kapital: A Novel of Love and Money Markets Paperback – 1 Oct 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (1 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743267249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743267243
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,972,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Viken Berberian is a novelist and author of The Cyclist. He has written for The New York Times, the Financial Times and the Los Angeles Times. For the past five years he has lived and worked in Manhattan, Paris and Marseille.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Manze on 6 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
lyrical, poetic - Berberian took the sterile world of stocks and bonds and blended it with the world of the heart. A journey with words that had me rereading passages that would cut thru the chaos of human chatter straight to the heart of what matters - love.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Berberian's writing style is the real star here 21 Feb. 2008
By JustinWrites - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The title of the novel is a direct play on the Marx/Engels non-fiction analysis on capitalism and its critical applications in society and on the laboring man. Berberian, who has written for the NY & LA Times, as well as for The Financial Times, knows his way around global markets and hedge fund traders, which he exploits to the fullest here. The action takes place from Manhattan's Wall Street to Marseille's mean streets, revolving around three main players: trader Wayne, architecture student Alix, and the mysterious Corsican. Global economies, terrorism and e-mail connects the three players, cocooned in a literary style that is at once cold and calculating while managing to also be very lyrical and haunting. It reminded me of a book from the capitalistic 80s that was never written (something that McInerney or Ellis would have written if they weren't so solipsistic) and had tones of narrative structure and tenseness that Alex Garland achieved in the wonderful "The Tesseract." Ultimately, all of the pieces don't quite come together in the way the author intends, and I was left a little hollower when I finished than when I began... but the writing is tremendous, the juxtaposition between poetic language and stock-trading terminology a near-to-masterful feat. I was never really invested in the characters, yet I followed the author's lead regardless, and let the stellar writing carry me through to the story's conclusion.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Necessary reading for citizens of capital markets 24 July 2007
By The Just - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Much like the main character Wayne, I avoid fiction novels - unless there is an important lesson that may be derived from the reading. This book perfectly encompasses the reasons why I think fiction should ever be read and it does so with a subtle mockery of the reason that was the source of my disdain: the capital markets.

I loved this book because it so simply highlighted how in our persistent pursuit of wealth, we rarely make the effort to appreciate what we were presumably accumulating the wealth for in the first place. The pleasantries of life such as companionship, of natural beauty, of moderate laziness are replaced with electronic toys, quick thrills (like a ten million dollar play against the market), fragile designer furniture. We become concerned with salaries, investments, 401Ks, retirement planning, expected growth, dividends ... except we forget that the original plan was to use these things to somehow enjoy our lives - although we may have forgotten how to enjoy anything besides the increased return on investment of our portfolios. What good is money if you don't use it?

Berberian clearly understands all of this and coupled with his immaculate descriptions of people, places, and things, he creates a wondrous projection of our capitalist society - not to condemn it but to show that capitalism need not be the sole governing philosophy of our existence.

In total, the perfectly placed instances of humor along with the important and relevant societal messages make for a thoroughly enjoyable and significant literary work. Every lover, financier, employee, and hopeful bon vivant should read this book.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Das Kapital for today 9 July 2007
By Erato - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You're going to want to reread this book as soon as it ends. It is the story of today's world, froth with suspension of conscience in the abysmal pursuit of wealth, abated only by primal human needs and wants. You will find the protagonist Wayne endearing despite his obnoxious Manhattanite tendencies complete with a Varda shoe collection and Hans Wegner furniture. You will find comical the fustian melodrama with which he greets his hedgefund colleagues AND his sandwiches that consistently arrive sans the desired avocado. You might even dismiss his utter and specific dedication to econoterrorism. Berberian propels you there. You will be drawn to Wayne's cryptic partnership with a Corsican obsessed with ecopreservation and all things bucolic. He executes Wayne's strategy of blasting international financial landmarks for market manipulation, in as clandestine a manner as he preserves his relations with Wayne's beloved. You might find the Corsican esoteric but easily engage his frustration with a world not concerned with losing its trees or finding its red ants. Perhaps you will most relate to Berberian's Alix. A capricious architecture student, she offers an appreciation of Marseille--its hues and babble--strangely, but alluringly, from its rooftops. Ultimately, she provides Wayne and the Corsican with the actual blueprints necessary for their schemata, and this story the grace it yearns. Berberian tells a harsh story, reminiscent of daily CNN reports (to which we're now immune) from seemingly the middle of nowhere across the Atlantic, with the delicacy of Queen Anne's lace. He weaves, with unparalleled ease, algorithmic theorems and ideologies long-forgotten with amorous details of keeping count of a lover's birthmarks and the sequence of their emails. His storytelling is almost algebraic in design, such that the reader is comfortable with the organized chaos of the intersecting yet linear lives of the characters on different continents and different spheres of thought. He quotes Guy Debord within a page of a generic "roses are red, violets are blue" poem, and, in doing so, helps you internalize and champion the ideologies, strata and human condition of each of his characters. Berberian has a way of making you feel like you are part of the story, aware of every iota of the characters' environment, from furniture that has affect, to eateries screaming with personality, and swimming-pools in glass buildings that tout the best capitalism has to offer. Nothing about Berberian's writing is incidental. His approach is scientific, his lexicon poignant, his wry humor inescapable. However, there is nothing categorical or conditional about the organic manner with which he presents you this story and helps make it your own. This is the story of today's world in which Marx's Das Kapital is challenged daily, and the ultimate victor is never really clear and always victim to interpretation. You're going to want to reread this book as soon as it ends.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Is Al Gore the environmentalist in Berberian's book? 17 Oct. 2007
By Carlyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When will the comparisons stop? Das Kapital bears no comparison to Coelho or for that matter to DeLillo as the Los Angeles Times asserts, nor to Palachniuk (the San Francisco Chronicle.) Berberian's writing does not owe a debt to anyone. Yet for all its originality, the Corsican eco-terrorist remains somewhat sketchy. I came away wanting to know more about him, and Berberian is as parsimonious as ever with his words, so that you have to think about the silences between them, which gives the Corsican a mysterious, larger than life quality, as if he is living and breathing outside the pages of the book.

There is something immediate and prescient in Berberian's writing (I read the book during august's high market volatility when the S&P plunged, then bounced back.) For all its ironic and psuedo-scientific references, the triumph of the book is that it somehow stays very human, and Wayne and Alix stay with you, with just a few strokes. The book is not about 'fate' as one reader suggested; it's more about the impact of the improbable told in the manic-hyperbolic voice of our times. A great read, an almost black swan.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
THIS BOOK IS SO AU COURANT... 9 Aug. 2007
By Y.A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You should read this book if only for its uncanny alignment with the seemingly unpredictable, frenzied behavior of the financial markets in the past two weeks. Not even the VIX index could foreshadow as accurately as this novel did. How I wish Wayne (or Berberian) would manage my portfolio!
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