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Aifric Campbell

On the Floor

Aifric Campbell On The Floor
$18.97 New
$4.97 Pre-owned
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Biographical note:

AIFRIC CAMPBELL spent thirteen years at Morgan Stanley, where she became the first woman managing director on the London trading floor. She left to earn a Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of East Anglia and currently teaches at Imperial College, London. Campbell has been awarded a fellowship at UCLA and residencies at Yaddo.

Excerpt from book:

1
TIME DECAY
 
 
MONDAY 14 JANUARY 1991
05:17
LONDON
AND FOR A LONG, LONG TIME after the Big Fucking Ticket, things had all the appearance of being on an upward trend. I met Stephen and fell in love, the ’87 Crash came and went, stock markets kept roaring ahead and I was coining it at Steiner’s. So who could have guessed just how much trouble lay down the road? Who could have known that Stephen would dump me in Venice four years later, Felix Mann would be forcing my relocation to Hong Kong and I’d be lying here on the floor at 5:17 a.m. with an empty bottle of Absolut, watching a million troops line up in a desert theatre of war?
For a while I chose to believe that things just snuck up when I wasn’t paying attention, but I’ve since figured out that this downward trend started exactly 737 days ago. It was 1988 and all through that summer I’d been dreaming about Kit Kats. The whole country was in meltdown about the nation’s favourite chocolate bar being gobbled up by the Swiss and Stephen was working flat-out on the takeover bid, so I barely saw him.
‘You know it’s the ultimate compromise,’ I told him one December morning in Kensington Gardens. ‘The Kit Kat is the bar you buy when you can’t decide what you really want.’ Rex ducked his head encouragingly, a twist of red tinsel around his collar and a slimy tennis ball in his mouth. I slipped my arm through Stephen’s. He was wearing that navy pea coat and the mohair was tipped with frost.
‘STAY,’ he raised a hand but Rex lolloped off towards the Round Pond. ‘I don’t know why you even have a dog when you can’t be bothered to train him,’ he muttered and crunched away across the frozen grass. And I was struck by how easily my arm had given up its position, like a leaf falling on seasonal cue, as if this surrender was preordained and nature was ushering in the future of singledom that has since come to pass.
That moment was an early warning signal, like a bell tinkling faintly in thick fog to warn of rocks ahead. So the end, when it finally came 181 days ago, was surprising not for the event, but for what Zanna still calls my disproportionate reaction. I did not struggle or cry out. I let Stephen sneak off at dawn without a word, for how can you cling on to what isn’t there? I packed my bag and flew back home to crouch cross-legged and hyperventilating in my sleepless bed as if each lung was a dying animal panting in my hands.
Zanna diagnosed a ‘viral grief’, which she had seen before, since Manhattan is years ahead of London in matters of the heart. So she marched me over to Finsbury Circus and into the consulting rooms of her private doctor who cradled her hand in both of his as if he might kiss it. ‘Geri needs to sleep and she needs to chill,’ Zanna announced, while I sat mute in a creaking Chesterfield. The doctor nodded gravely behind his outsize desk and took my blood pressure and I left with scrips for Valium and Mogadon. ‘Look around you,’ said Zanna as we stood on the steps outside. City workers streamed past on the pavement below us, shouldering their jackets in the August heat. ‘And remember who you are,’ she turned to face me. ‘You are Geri Molloy, the biggest producer on the trading floor. You are the girl who bagged the elephant and this is nothing more than a temporary setback.’
Zanna’s prog

“Of all the contemporary heroines, Geri Molloy might be the most badass. Watch out, Lisbeth Salander.” —Marie Claire

“Even finance-phobic readers will find themselves drawn into the intrigue and high-stakes wheeling and dealing…. Campbell delivers a Back to the Future tour of a workplace long before Sheryl Sandberg was telling women how to lean in at the office.” —The Washington Post

On the Floor really finds its legs when Geri gets caught in the middle of [a] contentious takeover of a defense contractor, resulting in shifting loyalties and backstabbing intrigue. There's even an abduction thrown in to keep the pot boiling. It's much what you'd find in any Stephen Frey bestseller, and in truth, the guilty pleasures here come from embracing the utterly expected.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“So intelligent and well written… [A] deftly handled meditation on how we create value and what it means to be a person in a world always in flux… [I’d] recommend getting in on the ground floor and investing now in this talented novelist, whose stock is sure to rise in the years to come.” —Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“Smart, caustic, [and] moving... The forces motivating Geri and her generation are the same ones that James Joyce—Campbell's compatriot and like her a former bank employee—identified almost a century before… Campbell knows this world inside out, and joining Geri at the start of her working day (at an eye-watering 6:38 a.m.) we are plunged directly into a fizzing ocean of banking arcana…. Spirited, sardonic, wounded, funny, Geri remains compelling... Campbell is a gifted storyteller, and possesses a rare insight into this secretive world.” —Paul Murray, Slate Book Review

On the Floor’s appeal is broad....It’s that rare work of fiction in which the financial world functions as more than a mere backdrop.”—Hephzibah Anderson, Bloomberg

“[On The Floor] plunges straight into the financial world’s heart of darkness.” —Los Angeles Times

“The fast-paced narrative brings to life the London banking world of the go-go early Nineties, just before the quants took over, with unexpected consequences that would eventually result in the Great Recession… Campbell knows this world intimately, and she pushes the boat of plot out beyond predictability, while keeping her characters believable and engaging.” —Women’s Wear Daily.com

“Part of what makes Irish author Aifric Campbell’s [On the Floor] work is her refusal to pity her characters… Her tough-talking, irreverent prose engenders an updated take on the Wall Street morality tale.” —The Daily Beast

“Confident, engaging, and incredibly readable… Recalling Bonfire of the Vanities and Wall Street, On the Floor is a work that throws us lock, stock, and barrel into the world of high finance…. a fascinating read—sometimes terrifying, often witty, always engagingly written. Judging from this debut, you can bank on Ms. Campbell to produce wonderful results in the future.” —New York Journal of Books

“Campbell knows the City and she writes like a demon…. An illuminating look at one woman as she tries to figure out what’s really important.” —Laurie Muchnick, Bloomberg

“Campbell, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, punctures the seamy darkness of banking with acute observations… Geri’s self-aware reenactment of Wall Street (a film the traders see as a ‘reconfirmation that greed is go


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