"On Wall Street, reflects Cath, women are about as welcome as fleas in a sleeping bag. Funny, liberal and left-leaning, she is an unlikely candidate to be writing speeches on derivatives in a cubicle in a Manhattan tower, 'putting words in the mouths of plutocrats deeply suspicious of metaphors and words of more than two syllables.' She finds herself on Wall Street because she needs serious money. After ten good years, her beloved older husband Bailey is suffering from Alzheimer's.
"So begins Cath's journey into two nightmare worlds. By day she deals with the topsy-turvy logic and ingrown personalities at work in high finance; by night she hs to watch the slow disintegration of the man she loves. In between, she must stop herself from falling apart. Friendship with Mike, a colleague and incognito socialist, helps her survive the assault course of the workplace with its vicious office politics. But as the money markets hurtle towards financial meltdown, Cath faces personal disaster and a moral hazzard that she cannot ignore.
"Kate Jennings' prose is lean yet rich in unexpected, telling detail. Tense, taut and compulsively readable, Moral Hazard is people by extraordinary charcaters and informed by a mordant, witty intelligence."
"A writer of real power. Extraordinary." - Rose Tremian
How would you have me write about it? Bloody awful all of it.
I will tell my story as straight as I can, as straight as anyone's crokked recollections allow. I will tell it in my own voice, although treating myself as another, observed, appeals. If I cna, no jokes or jibes, no persiflage -- my preferred defenses. I'd rather eat garden worms than be earnest or serious. Or sentimental.
I recount the events of those years with great reluctance. Not because you might think less of me -- there is always that. No, the reason is a rule I try to follow, summed up by Ellen Burstyn in the movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore: "Don't look back. You'll turn into a pillar of shit."
From the Picador hardback edition, 2002.
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Last modified: May 8, 2005.