Bank Review
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This entertaining novel from first-time author David Bledin tells the story of a fresh-faced young man, Mumbles, in his first year as an entry-level investment banker. Mumbles and the other members of the Gang of Four—the Defeated One, Postal Boy, and Clyde—are all over-worked, under-sexed, and running on caffeine-charged lattes from the Starbucks in the lobby. The Gang is trying to master the complexities of Excel spreadsheets while somehow hanging on to the shreds of their personal lives and maintaining contact with the outside world.

This isn’t the first book to take on the modern office environment, but it’s got great pacing, and the characters are on a definite path to somewhere. That’s a neat trick to pull off for a first book—and even more impressive considering that none of the characters (except Clyde) have a real name assigned to them. It’s a great way to save words, too, because when Bledin first mentions The Utterly Incompetent Assistant, the reader knows exactly what she looks like and how she’s going to act. The same is true of Prodigal Son and his mistress, Unadulterated Sex.

Bank is almost the book version of Office Space. The Gang of Four hate their jobs, and even as they kill themselves to get ahead, they’re trying desperately to get out. The jokes are both subtle and over-the-top. It’s a book that will force you to laugh at the tactics used to survive life in a business that expects 100-hour weeks out of its lowest employees.

Bledin has a good ear for how men talk in an office and a solid eye for how they act around each other. That helps to make up for the fact that the book sort of plays out in the way that the reader expects it to. There are flaws in the plot, but the quality of the writing helps to overcome them.

If you’ve ever had a job that felt like it was sucking the life out of you, then you’ll get the point of this book. There’s nothing ground-breaking here—and, by the same token, you aren’t going to learn any dirty little secrets about the world of investment banking. But Bank is definitely worth the fifteen-dollar investment.

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