February 17, 2004

A Conspiracy of Paper, David Liss

Like Liss' later book, this is a noir mystery with a MacGuffin of the markets. The Conspiracy of this one is in London, during the ever-green madness of the South Sea Bubble.

There's an interview with Liss at the end of this version of the book:

Nevertheless, it has long been my theory that the Bubble shaped the British novel, which emerged in its modern form around 1740 (this is an arguable point, but I'm sticking to it). These mid-century novels are preoccupied with the sudden loss or the sudden appearance of wealth because the novelists came of age during the period of the Bubble and its aftermath.

Marriage and inheritance still count for a lot. Also; French novel, John Law, how connected?

Liss started writing fiction as a doctoral student in literature, which I should think means he'll never run out of interesting material to mine. For instance, the hero of this novel is not only an ambivalently Anglicizing Jew, but a boxer (as was the Amateur Gentleman). Daniel Mendoza was a real Jewish boxer in England; famed, scientific, determined.

For a year, for no good reason, my household got the Ringside boxing-supplies catalogs and newsletters; there was an essay once on how to coach someone into courage; a chancy process of never setting them up for too painful a failure or too easy a victory. Very pastoral, despite the violence and potential brain-damage and, oh, class struggle also evident.

ISBN: 0-8041-1912-0

So wrote clew in Fiction (20th c.). | TrackBack
And thus wrote others:
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