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Other People's Money [Paperback]

Justin Cartwright
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Hardcover 16.18  
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Book Description

7 Mar 2011
The venerable bank of Tubal & Co is in trouble. It's not the first time in its three-hundred-year history - it was bailed out by Rothschilds' in 1847 - but this time will be the last. A sale is under way, and a number of rather important facts need to be kept hidden, especially from any potential buyer. Hundreds of millions of pounds are being diverted - temporarily - to shore it up, masterminded by the bank's chairman, Julian Trevelyan-Tubal. His aging father Sir Henry would be horrified, but fortunately he is in the early stages of dementia, writing admonitory letters that all say the same thing to Julian from the sunny climes of Antibes. His letters instruct his son to stick to the time-honoured traditions of the bank, and, indeed, had his son taken his advice the bank might still be solvent.

Great families have all sorts of secrets, though, and this one is no exception. And whether they are lovers, old partners, or retainers who resent not being part of the family, they have a nasty habit of turning awkward. When an alimony payment from the bank to an abandoned husband, the penniless, quixotic director (currently putting on Thomas the Tank Engine, hoping to woo Daniel Day-Lewis for his new playscript), a trickle of consequences turns into a tsunami of potential catastrophe for the family, the bank and all who sail in her.

Other People's Money is both a subtle thriller and an acutely delineated portrait of a world and a class. Justin Cartwright manipulates our sympathies with masterly ease, unwinding the story with gentle satire, and, as ever, acute and beautifully phrased insights into the eccentricities and weaknesses of the human condition.

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Other People's Money + The House of Mirth (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Export & UK open market ed edition (7 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408814137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408814130
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Other People's Money is wise, droll and beautiful fiction' (David Mitchell)

'His storytelling powers are so fluent and persuasive, the quality of his observation so fine' (Daily Telegraph)

'A high-class piece of literary entertainment' (Spectator)

'A delicately patterned novel about the heroic search for happiness and its ultimate fragility. The comfortable middle-class setting and faintly fairytale ending belie a portrait of family life in which concealment and compromise are never far away. Quietly moving' (Financial Times)

Book Description

The new novel by the author of the Booker-shortlisted In Every Face I Meet and Richard & Judy selection The Promise of Happiness.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TOO POSH TO FAIL 20 Mar 2011
By Diacha
I thoroughly enjoyed Justin Cartwright's "Other People's Money" even though it totters on the tight line between serious fiction and light comedy before collapsing decisively into the latter territory.

OPM recounts the last days of Tubal & Co, a merchant bank that has been a national institution since "Moses Tubal set himself up at the sign of the Leathern Bottle by Bread St in 1671." Sir Harry Trevelyan-Tubal (the family has moved beyond its Jewish roots) still cuts a fine figure but, sequestered with servants in his Antibes villa, he has lost his mind and is steadily shuffling of this mortal coil. Julian, his second son has been thrust reluctantly into the chair while Simon - "the hairy heir" pursues an alternative calling. Under Julian's leadership, Tubal strays from Sir Harry's banking basics and the "silken thread of connection" to customers to experiment with Gaussian risk curves, hedge funds and CDOs. The bank is in trouble and in order to plaster over the cracks to permit a quick sale to the very American Cy Mannheim, Julian resorts to a last ditch manipulation of the accounts involving misuse of the family trust. Naturally, all does not go smoothly.

Cartwright brings a gentle touch to his satire (though one character central to the subplot, the ex -husband of Sir Harry's younger wife, Fleur, is well over the top), and he writes delightfully.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Failure in The City 30 Oct 2011
By Pierre
I found this disappointing in almost every way. Justin Cartwright sets himself up with some very large targets to aim at, but I feel he missed them all, except for one which I'll come back to.

Set aside the fact that the plot is unconvincing, because most of his readers won't be interested in the minute reality of running a bank into the ground. But at least he could have avoided leaden cliche, both in characterisation and speech: "Lovely jubbly, kushti." Really? And would the boss of one of the world's most venerable institutions reply, when complimented on his suit, "Gieves & Hawkes"? I found the continual posh-product-name dropping incredibly tiresome, a lazy and tedious way to try to convey the notion of wealth.

I found the characters unremittingly close to caricature too, none more so than Artair, the writer who comes across as a camped-up cross between Donald Sinden on E and Brian Blessed on a bad day.

So if you sacrifice accuracy of both detail and characterisation, what are you left with? A cracking good plot? For a while I thought this was it, but honestly, it peters out horribly. I've no doubt it is intentional. Its part of the big idea of the book. But if you write a book that's essentially reliant on plot, then you make the plot as undramatic as this one turns out to be, you're asking for trouble.

Which brings me to the one genuinely good thing about this book: I think it does convey well how little control anyone really has over the events that most shape their lives. But what a frustrating way to make this slim point.

He's a good-natured writer, but this is certainly not one of his better books, in my view.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars City Gents 24 April 2012
By yorkist
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A page turner and fun to read. Well informed about financial community behaviour. There must have been a number of alternative endings. The individual epilogues were left a lot of loose endings. But all good fun even if we all wish we could live in the style of the family in the South of France ( at least for a short while.)A good Justin Cartwright story and more fastidious in language than many of his other offerings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing - but overblown characters 24 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This story of a traditional British bank getting out of its depth due to hedge fund gambles during the recent banking crisis is wittily told. Its sense of fun comes from watching the steady demise and desperate scrambles of the old school tie brigade - and their hangers on - as they come to realise that the game could be up.

A life of living very nicely indeed on other people's money could be about to end: under pressure cracks are revealed as cash is smuggled out of Liechtenstein bank accounts, self-made American moguls begin to call the shots, trophy wives start playing around, and paintings by Matisse and South of France yachts are put on the market.

There are some very funny characters - including the impressario/playwright in Cornwall who stops getting his trust fund payments from the bank (and whose theatrical outbursts reminded me a bit of Monty from Withnail and I), the naive newspaper hack who's on 60 a story for a local paper and becomes the centre of the plot, the desperate Lady Trevelyn-Tubal with her gym instructor ways.

The book harpoons the banker world of never actually making anything real... but, for me, the tone switches so often from the serious to the downright daft, with silly gags and swearing that jars and often seems totally out of character, that you can't really settle into the book.

Is it a farce or an "important tale of our times"? Is it straight up slapstick (a la Tom Sharpe) or something a bit more subtle (a la Tom Wolfe)? Anyway... it's interesting and amusing and worth it for the spectacle of watching the bankers squirm!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the read
It gave a good insight into how big business operates. The characters vere very believable and the story was good.
Published 3 months ago by marian lawlor
5.0 out of 5 stars book
I was pleased with all aspects of this purchase: the product arrived promptly and was in excellent condition and met my expectations.
Published 6 months ago by Ms. S. J. Rolph
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable
I thought this was a highly enjoyable novel, laden with black humour and aiming its barbs fairly evenly at the insanely wealthy banking elite and the arts world as characterised by... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tony Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Bank on it.
A strong and engaging storyline with a theme that still speaks to us today Clever plotting and astute characterisation . All in all, a great read.
Published 6 months ago by Fr. Andj Lavender
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read....but a sad reflection on life today!
Family Banking is almost a dirty word today....and this book is a humorous
take on an old established Bank which falls into the trap of turning old money
into Casino... Read more
Published 8 months ago by David Reid
5.0 out of 5 stars A small bonfire of the vanities
Other People's Money is funny, touching, wise, instructive, relevant and very well-written. Its main fault is it is too short for its subject matter. Read more
Published 10 months ago by P. A. KRIJGSMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Other Peoples Money
This is my second reading of this title, and I hardly ever read the same book twice. I am enjoying it as much, if not more the second time around. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Peter Fletcher
3.0 out of 5 stars OK - but a missed opportunity.
The premise of this book was very promising - a traditional, old school bank which is gradually run into collapse by speculative market dealing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ray Green
3.0 out of 5 stars Satire ?
I found the characters too stereotypical - although this was probably intended satire , I do not think that it worked for me. The ending was a little weak and unsatisfying.
Published 12 months ago by mrs m m hill
5.0 out of 5 stars pleasing satire
This is an excellent read. The opening is very witty, the plot both satirical and slightly farcical, the ending a satisfying comfort. Read more
Published 13 months ago by j.s.pullen
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