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Union Atlantic Hardcover – 1 Jul 2010

3.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tuskar Rock (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848874979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848874978
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 788,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Absolutely brilliant. --Kate Atkinson

Adam Haslett has the rarest of talents: the ability to combine a powerful intelligence with storytelling that is both elegant and suspenseful, and to break your heart in the process. Union Atlantic is a masterful portrait of our age. --Malcolm Gladwell

This is the rare novel that is both urgently of its time and fully true to itself. Adam Haslett saw it all coming: our particular moment, our particular crisis. And because he was so far ahead of our leaders and our opinion-makers - because he is a true writer - he could take the time to fashion a book of exceptional maturity, completeness, compassion, comedy and suspense. It's been a long time since we've seen an American novelist reach for so much and achieve so much of what he's reached for. --Jonathan Franzen

About the Author

Adam Haslett is the author of the short story collection, You Are Not A Stranger Here, was a New York Times bestseller. It was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the US National Book Award, and has been translated into fifteen languages. His essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Best American Short Stories, among others. He lives in New York.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Union Atlantic is a rare treat; gorgeously written, with a deft line in characters, a novel that through sheer skill alone builds in such potency as to affect the reader's moments and experiences away from its sparkling prose. With a plot that is secondary, but nevertheless expertly threaded through events, Haslett's brilliance - in this his first proper novel - sparkles via his jewel-like observations and poetic takes on eternal truths, somehow fashioning them as brand new and marking himself out as a truly talented author to follow.

As you've probably already heard, Union Atlantic is essentially about economics, more specifically financial meltdown, set as it is against the contemporary American stock exchange. However, despite some engaging insider views on the rabid passions and bizarre, otherworldly, foreign language of financial chicanery, this novel is more about the singular, yet powerful, place finance has in the world at large, and beyond that how actions in life's maze can ripple out, bringing down a whole heap of events to impact on seemingly unconnected individuals far beyond a person's intentions.

With characters connected either through family or fate are steadily introduced in a fashion that in other hands may have proved tedious and distracting - but guided by Haslett unravel into a mesmerizing treat of observation - Union Atlantic spreads out into a fascinating snapshot of everyday American life during this first decade of the twenty-first century. Inevitably, upon starting Union Atlantic, F.
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By Mo VINE VOICE on 5 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having just finished reading the book I'm actually finding it hard to describe, but I can assure you it's not a title to overlook.

This short novel, which can be read within a week at a relaxed place, could be seen as a sort of fusion of the movies Syriana and Wall Street...Those two analogies are probably enough to avoid spoiling the book; but there's also some comedy in there, albeit not of the laugh-out-loud sort.

The first striking thing about Haslett's style is how perfectly poetic his words are - they're not overly decorative but vivid and dynamic in a fat-free way, from little details like how traffic lights look on a rainy windscreen to describing drug trips. There are times though when the financial-speak washed over my head and the italicised "preacher" speak was a bit heavy going, but that's more my failing - that said grasping the stories of the protagonists isn't hard. I also must add that as a straight man, there was something quite involving about the gay sex scenes.

Multiple themes seem to be touched here, the ones that stand out are the nature of a dog eat dog world and the value of principles. The characters are well rounded and seem believable as they're planted very well into a non-fictional backdrop. I agree with the professional critics that this is a timely release given that we're in a "new-cession" (a term I heard by a delivery man), but it's also timeless as the moods it brings up in the emotional side of things will always resonate.

All in all, a great book by Haslett, perhaps only losing full marks because it had some predictable turns.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an odd book to try to place exactly. On the one hand it sets off with the feel of a thriller, with a US army veteran now a banking executive sailing close to the wind. On the other hand it has a rather literary style, which comes to the fore when describing the past life of his neighbour, a batty but likeable elderly lady who stands against the ostentation he has brought to the neighbourhood specifically and indeed against the pre-eminence of money that this represents.
The observations of modern society's obsession with money and power are well made and thought provoking (though the detail of the financial machinations were to me at times rather obscure) and there was a certain impetus to the story that gave it interest. However, the tension between the literary explorations of character and background, and the needs for plot to drive onwards with pace were never fully resolved. The book chops between a section of languid and thoughtful description and frantic action in an unsatisfactory way that gives a disjointed whole.
It's a shame really because clearly there is good quality prose here, and a good idea, but the two don't quite meet in the middle. Nevertheless, I'd be interested in reading another novel by the same author in the future, and would certainly be willing to give it a try with an optimistic approach.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Adam Haslett's debut novel examines the life of Doug Fanning, a young and successful Boston investment banker in 2001-2003. Fanning, a veteran of the Gulf War, is haunted both by his emotionally damaging childhood and his war service. He is driven to succeed in financial and material terms, but emotionally he is disconnected because he either cannot or will not form meaningful relationships with anyone around him. Fanning moves into a grandiose new house in a quiet town, where he encounters two other emotionally damaged characters - a retired history teacher and a teenage boy whose father has recently died.

The novel seeks to link the financial crises of the last decade and US foreign policy with shifts in the American way of life in recent years. Much of this critique is softened by coming from the voice of the retired history teacher (who is sinking in to dementia) instead of the narrator, so that ultimately it is unclear what the author thinks the root of the problem is, and he shies away from offering a definitive judgement on the state of the nation in recent years.

Haslett writes elegantly and precisely, with occasional passages that are impressively evocative. The writing style is typical of the serious and earnest manner of much contemporary American literary fiction - it is reasonably polished and yet at the same time somewhat bland. The book's main weakness is that its examination of its three central characters seems thin, with the narrative jumping from one scene to another so that meaningful change over time is implied but remains vaguely expressed and thus rather unsatisfying. This is compounded by a wealth of minor characters and events that are of marginal significance to the central plot. For this reason, the novel seems somewhat thin, despite its 320 pages. Although well-written and engaging, "Union Atlantic" seems to promise a little more than it delivers, and leaves the reader somewhat unsatisfied.
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