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Lake Success #ourgoodlifebooklist

I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.

I've not read anything by author Gary Schteyngart before so I came in without a sense of this author's style. I picked this book because the main character is a hedge fund manager and I wanted to see if this author was going to give us any new insights to these instant multi million (billion) aire people.

Set during the Trump election, Schteyngart weaves the election through out the entire story. I love when an author can pin society's shortcomings right on the proverbial bulletin board. Greediness, amorality, lying, all play a part in the character of Barry Cohen, a hedge fund manager of a company called This Side of Capital, which he lifted, quite proudly, from F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise.

When we meet Barry, he is in the center of the New York Port Authority, drunk, bleeding and barely knowing his own name. For some reason, that made me laugh, so I continued reading to find that Barry has it all: a beautiful wife, a three year old son, lots and lots of assets in his company. The reader eventually realizes that it is all fake, gloriously fake, and that the super rich have their problems as well. Barry's son is severely autistic, his wife is unhappy and having an affair, and he's under investigation by the SEC.

So Barry does the most incredible thing: he jumps on a Greyhound bus, with nothing but a credit card and clothes he's been wearing for days, in search of the woman that got away, his college girlfriend. From here the story goes on with Barry thinking he is getting back to the "real America" but finds that all that he meets has their own stories and issues. It's about this time when we see Barry making a leap toward maturity. Eventually Barry heads back to New York City to face his demons in the form of his family and the SEC. One lets him off easy, the other doesn't. I don't think it is hard to figure out which is which.

Shteyngart creates a message of an America confused about what really defines success. Look closely, are money, power and possessions the right definition of success, or is this just the ticking of the wristwatches that Barry collects, waiting for it all to blow up?

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