Greed. Envy. Sex. Property. In her subversively funny and genuinely moving new novel, Jane Smiley nails down several American obsessions with the expertise of a master carpenter. Forthright, likable Joe Stratford is the kind of local businessman everybody trusts, for good reason. But it's 1982, and even in Joe's small town, values are in upheaval: not just property values, either. Enter Marcus Burns, a would-be master of the universe whose years with the IRS have taught him which rules are meant to be broken. Before long he and Joe are new best friends-and partners in an investment venture so complex that no one may ever understand it. Add to this Joe's roller coaster affair with his mentor's married daughter. The result is as suspenseful and entertaining as any of Jane Smiley's fiction
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by Jane Hamilton
by Jane Smiley
by Robert Olmstead
by Jim Lynch
by Kevin Brockmeier
by Richard Ford
by Per Petterson
"Capitalism, yuppies, and the S&L scandals of the '80s are fodder for Jane Smiley's ninth novel. Here, she deals with the self-involved, self-justifying, get-rich-quick schemes of the period. Joe Stratford, a divorced nice-guy realtor, yields to every temptation. First, he begins an affair with Felicity, a married woman who is also his boss's daughter. Then Marcus, a stranger with impressive credentials, comes to town, and Joe gets involved in a scheme promising high yield for low investment--a temptation that's too good to be true--which, of course, backfires. Richard Poe's narration of Smiley's morality play will keep listeners entertained. Smiley, a consummate craftsperson, makes the listener aware that this is good writing at the same time that Poe's impeccable performance allows the writing to disappear. S.J.H. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine"
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