Warning: Spoilers ahead and I am not a qualified book critic. Just a consumer of goods.
I joined a book club. A real grown-up book club, where I get together with strangers that drink wine and eat cheese. I don’t like wine or care for un-melted cheese, so instead I bring a frap from the Starbucks near-by. I also pause at Poke-stops and see if there are any Pokemon on my way from the parking lot to the bookstore where we meet. I park at the furthest lot so I am sure to hit the most stops and walk past the Starbucks to get my super sugary non caffeinated drink with extra whip. Basically, I am the opposite of a grown-up. I’m also 36, with 3 kids and a mortgage. When do I start to feel like an adult? It hasn’t happened yet.
I joined the book club on a whim. I was listening to one of my favorite podcast’s “We Got This” and in one episode, the fella who is local to Philadelphia…(near where we live) talks about his favorite local bookstore. I then did a search for a local bookstore, visited and joined the book club the next day.
Enough of my back story. “The Mark and the Void” is the 3rd book I have read with the club and it is my favorite so far.
From a high-level over-view its about a banker and a novelist. It’s a story through banker Claude’s eyes. He is a quiet character in a very loud but empty environment and he seems content to just be. Then the novelist Paul implants himself in Claude’s life and the story starts.
Much of the story takes place in the investment bank and as far as I can tell goes into great detail regarding the world of investments, shares, speculation, markets, derivatives, options, crashes, recessions, etc. Despite this, it is actually interesting and terrifying and deep and thought provoking. It definitely reminds me that I need to watch the movie “Too Big Too Fail”.
The whole scene just confirmed to me how unfair “the system” is. How the rich are getting richer on basically nothing. Decisions are made on abstract ideas and equations where no one purchases or invests in anything you can feel, see or experience. Its just numbers being traded back and forth. It’s all a huge scam and there doesn’t seem to be a way the conspiracy can end unless we start from scratch. Naturally nobody wants to risk that and so it continues.
Now I know I will never be a player in that world, even if I had the money. And although I am not a player, I am exposed to and forced to live in the world that is created by a relative few.
If I weren’t a believer, I would be sooooooo depressed. I would have the feeling of just being a nothing in someone else’s world while they created chaos on nothing real so they can get rich!
But I believe that God is still in control and allows what He allows. He also knows every sparrow and the amount of hairs on my head. So to me, He is more interested in MY life. OUR lives. He sees all the details. I am His and He is protecting me and guiding me and as long as I seek Him, He will show me the way. PHEW!
Aside from the dark and dank world of investment banking, there is a fourth wall that this novel breaks really early on, which to me automatically makes the book more interesting.
It’s a book about writing a book that writes itself and is self fulfilling! I love that stuff and eat it up. Trickled in are lines about book club readers discussing the book and readers actually holding the book in their hands. Delicious!
There are bits about art and the point of art and what is art for anyway. It’s not for getting rich. My favorite line- “But why should rich people have all the beauty?”
There is a little bit of love. It doesn’t go exactly the way I want it to, but it goes the way the book said it is going to go. So it stays on its on track.
There were parts that I HATED. Igor. I literally would smack the book every time Igor was in the story.
Also there is a scene that is so obscene and pornographic and in my mind unnecessary to the story. If I were watching a movie I would have fast forwarded or covered my eyes or looked away. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with a book and so I’m forced to “see” things I really don’t care to.
I don’t understand why novelists feel they have to be so sexually graphic. Perhaps that is the “non grown-up” in me.
Overall I really did like this book and how I know its is a good one is that I would recommend it to others.
I give it 3 Fraps and a Pincer.