riding high in the wild money-making days of the 1980s? The era was a
paradise for Wall Street hot shots, who indulged in everything their
inflated salaries could buy. Oh how life has changed for our
protagonist, Rooney, in the decades since the bubble burst.
When you strike a match, it burns brighter in the first nanosecond than it will ever burn again. That first incandescence. That instantaneous and brilliant flash. 1980 was the year, and I was the match, and that was the year I struck into blinding flame.—The Fall of Princes by Robert Goolrick (Algonquin, 2015, p. 1)
- Setting: New York City & the world; 1980s & beyond
- Circumstances: A humbled working stiff recalls his former self as a top dog in the fast-paced, drug-fueled, money-filled world of the 1980s.
- Characters: Rooney in young adulthood as a major player in a New York investment firm and in middle age, maybe wiser and certainly poorer; friends, family, lovers, and colleagues in both time periods
- Genre: literary fiction; fictionalized autobiography
- Themes: greed, loss, redemption, excesses, marriage, regret
- Discussion points: women's status in 1980s, greed, AIDS, irresponsibility, loss of wealth, marriage, adjusting to changing circumstances
- Why I want to read this: I absolutely loved Goolrick's earlier novels and I have every hope for The Fall of Princes. Goolrick's sympathetic characters and poetic writing create an unforgettable atmosphere, pulling me into whatever story he has to tell.
- Something to know: Goolrick himself was an ad man who lost it all in the crash and had to cope with new realities, including rehab.