Mergers & Acquisitions

Author: Dana Vacho
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Keywords: acquisitions, mergers
Number of Pages: 304
Published: 2007-04-05
List price: $23.95
ISBN-10: 1594489343
ISBN-13: 9781594489341

Book Description:

This is the hilarious tale of Tommy Quinn, a recent grad, set against the money, power, lust, corruption, cynicism,energy and excitement that is Wall St.

A graduate of Duke University in 2002 and an analyst for J.P. Morgan for a few years after that, Dana Vachon is a writing wunderkind along the lines of Jay McInerney in Bright Lights, Big City and Bret Easton Ellis in Less Than Zero. However, the similarity ends with the theme of young guys on the razzle, because Vachon’s protagonist, unlike his predecessors, observes and learns without falling into the honey pot. Tommy Quinn graduates from Georgetown and lands a job with J.S. Spenser, an investment banking firm. His major was Interdisciplinary Studies, a kind of Liberal Arts wastebasket, and he knows nothing about finance. In the brain-deadening Spenser training program he hooks up with Roger Thorne, a really crass human being, but one who knows all the moves. The genesis of the friendship sets the tone rather well: They are both wearing Gucci loafers and Rolex watches.

The story begins at Roger’s engagement party, with Tommy waiting for his erstwhile girlfriend Frances to arrive. Everyone thinks that she has been at a spa, but she has really been in an upscale Home for the Unsure, being ministered to by a freaky shrink. The story then moves backward through Tommy’s ruminations about meeting Roger, "the John Audubon of preppy flesh," and about connecting with Terence Mathers, Spenser’s guru of mergers and acquisitions. At the end of Mathers’s first speech to the new Spenserites, Tommy says: "We had all partaken of the capitalist Kool-Aid and the applause was as much a tribute to the stupidity of young men and women after four years of elite education as it was to the success of Spenser’s training program." Greed is definitely good in this atmosphere--the more the better--but Tommy is not really a full-fledged participant. After Tommy blows his first assignment, he and Roger are sent to Cabo San Lucas on a major deal. What happens there is life-threatening and hilariously over-the-top but perfectly plausible and moves Tommy to rethink his life path. Vachon has left his own fledgling financial career behind, and instead has written a first-rate first novel that is smart, funny, witty, and wise. --Valerie Ryan