Recalling both the excess of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the drifting narrator of A Single Man, Ioannis Pappos’s debut novel is a portrait of privilege, aspiration, and international finance during the wayward course of the American economy between 9/11 and the 2008 Financial collapse, and is filled with surprisingly tender observations about identity, loneliness, and human connection.
“I’m homeless, but in First Class.”
Stathis Rakis abandoned his small Greek village for a more worldly life, first in San Francisco, where the Dot Com Bubble had already burst, and then in Paris, France, where he is pursuing an MBA at an elite business school. After falling helplessly in love with a liberal New England journalist with a good conscience, who comes to campus with some scores to settle, Stathis moves to the United States to begin as a consultant for a company called Command. He spends the very few hours of the day that aren’t consumed by work draining the minibar, battling insomnia, and binging on more than room service. Luxury is a given, happiness is not.
As the economy recovers and a new bubble expands in a post-9/11 world, Stathis drifts upward, baring witness to the criminal decadence that will become the 2008 financial crisis, as well as his new habits of indulgence—drugs, sex, and insider trading. In a world of insiders--from corporate suits to Hollywood celebutantes—Stathis remains the outsider: too foreign to be one of them, too cynical to turn back.