A wryly comic, first-person debut novel offering a withering view of life on Wall Street from the perspective of an unhappy insider who is too hooked on the money to find a way out, even as his career is ruining his marriage and corroding his soul.
It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage and on him.
When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion.
By turns hilarious and harrowing, Ghosts of Manhattan follows a winning but flawed character as he struggles to find the right path in a complicated urban heart of darkness.
“Former Internet exec Brunt offers up a savage, jaded, and comical depiction of freewheeling Wall Street bond traders during their precollapse heyday in this engaging debut… As Nick’s life, his marriage, and the U.S. economy edge closer to meltdown, Brunt brings all the pieces together for a satisfying climax to this compulsively readable novel.”