This Bleeding City, By Alex Preston

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The Independent Culture

Paying homage to F. Scott Fitzgerald's story of an earlier economic crash Babylon Revisited (1940), debut novelist and former city trader Alex Preston names his narrator, Charlie Wales, after Fitzgerald's anti-hero.

As is common in credit-crunch novels, the collapsing economy is presented as a symptom of a more deep-seated malaise. Working for a high-profile hedge fund side by side his more upper-crust university chums, Charlie finds himself glued to the drama of plummeting markets and high-risk gains.

His personal life proves no less heady as he finds himself drawn into an obsessive love affair with a highly strung and beautiful French woman, Véronique. This is a smartly written portrait of youthful insecurities and timeless folly.