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Other People's Money Paperback – 7 Mar 2011


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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: 15.3 x 2.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'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

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tom Doyle on 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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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Diacha on 20 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By Pierre on 30 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By yorkist on 24 April 2012
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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