Union Atlantic – Adam Haslett

I was quite surprised by this novel.

Doug is a trader for one of America’s largest banks.  Charlotte is his next door neighbour who wants him and his huge mansion removed from her property that it now sits on.  Charlotte’s father once owned the land then donated it to the town where they live in his will.  The town then sold it.  Charlotte’s dogs have recently began to talk to her, lecturing to her while they are taking walks, or just about in the house.  She was once a history teacher at the local high school, her behaviour in class and around town made it impossible for her to continue.

Doug also has his own problems at work.  He is struggling to rein in one of his associates that is in Asia doing business for him and the bank.  He has recently been adding more money to the fund saying that it is better to add more money because they will make a killing after it pays off.  If it doesn’t happen in time, the bank may go under.  It is just after 9/11, the war in the gulf is just starting up.

Amid all of this chaos, Doug has met a young teenager from town.  Charlotte is also tutoring him in history so that he will be able to graduate high school and go to college.  Doug came across him as he was breaking into his house.  This unusual relationship turns into more than Doug imagined.  The bank’s position is made known to Charlotte’s brother who is the President of the New York Federal Reserve.

Within the confines of banking, Doug’s place is making it hard for him to be able to bargain.  He needs to walk a fine line between his job, the lawsuit Charlotte is issuing against him, and of course the underage high school senior.

It was at times complex, intriguing, sometimes humorous modern novel that had me not wanting to put it down.  Deeply philosophical and daring this is a book that many will commiserate with.

Random House / Nan A. Talese

Author’s Website


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