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The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
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The Mark and the Void

by Paul Murray

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The whole thing runs out of steam by p160 ( )
  adrianburke | Mar 5, 2018 |
Hugely underwhelming. How NYT Book Review described this as "laugh out loud funny" escaped me, somehow. If they did mean it literally, was it funny because it made you laugh, or funny because it was pretty dismal? I persevered all the way to the end, and regretted it. The underlying story was bleak, the characters unlikable, and in the case of Paul and Igor, especially so. This was my first Paul Murray book, and probably my last. ( )
  fizzypops | Jan 29, 2017 |
The setting, an Ireland in the whitewater of the economic meltdown, was good, but I didn't quite click with the Frenchman and his desperately empty life (so empty he latches on to a dodgy writer's suggestions for plot developments in it) or the feckless writer in the story. ( )
  mhanlon | Jan 10, 2017 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Although I never did get around to reading it, for a long time Paul Murray's previous novel Skippy Dies was on my wish list here at CCLaP, simply because people seemingly never stopped talking about it, even years after it had first come out; and now that I've read his newest, The Mark and the Void, I can see why that might be, because this is one of those books that literally keeps poking up in your consciousness even weeks after you've finished it. At its heart it's an angry indictment by an Irish native of the corrupt banking practices that both created the "Celtic Tiger" phenomenon of the early 2000s and that caused it to implode a decade later, faster than anyone could've guessed; but it's important to note right away that it's also a lot more than this, and that in fact this book would've largely been a failure if it had simply been an angry screed against the one-percenters. Instead it's also a surrealist comedy, in which a failed novelist tries pulling a scam on said bankers, whose pathetic and immediate failure hides a series of deeper and more unsettling scams under the surface of the first one; a world in which inept CEOs hire Russian theoretical mathematicians to invent algorithms to show that fiscal losses are actually fiscal profits, and where corporate headquarters are built on the sides of active volcanoes for the tax breaks involved. A true epic that bobs and weaves in and out of so many subplots in 460 pages to make your head spin, this is exactly how an angry indictment of a corrupt rich elite should be, funny and dark and infinitely digressive into a whole series of preposterous situations; and in fact the only reason that this book isn't getting an even higher score is that Murray ultimately can never truly get away from his earnest, Charles-Dickens-like anger over the coke-snorting financiers who bankrupted his country, a wearying type of political ranting that unfortunately pokes up its head on a regular basis in this book, despite it otherwise being so masterfully symbolic and laugh-out-loud funny. Other than that quibble, though, this is a hugely entertaining book that will likely be making our best-of lists at the end of the year, a truly historic look at the 2010s Economic Meltdown that comes strongly recommended to one and all.

Out of 10: 9.6 ( )
2 vote jasonpettus | Apr 4, 2016 |
This is the 2nd novel I have read by the Irish writer Paul Murray. The first ,"Skippy Dies" took place in a boys school and was excellent. The plot here revolves around a french banking analyst working for an Irish bank in Dublin. The time is after the 2008 crash and does a great job of portraying the greed and idiocy of what goes on in investment banking. The best part is that he does it in a funny and entertaining way. He has a great gift for being able to do dialogue. The book is full of great bit characters. The book is a bit long at 450 pages but well worth the read. ( )
1 vote nivramkoorb | Nov 25, 2015 |
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Don't do it that way, you'll never make a dime.  -  James Murphy
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"While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul's fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul's plan is not what it seems--and neither is Claude's employer, the Investment Bank of Torabundo, which swells through dodgy takeovers and derivatives trading until--well, you can probably guess how that shakes out"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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