Aug 06, · A market strategist is warning of the possibility of a 'second-wave' market shock that would be comparative to the sell-off triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September Mo Grimeh, a Managing Director who has worked at Lehman Brothers for 10 years, walks out of the building and briefly speaks to journalists, in New York, September 14, Author: Steven Perlberg. The collapse of Lehman Brothers, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, marks the capitulation of one of Wall Street's most venerable institutions.
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When he talks about America, it's with rapturous joy, and an unflinching belief in the promise of his adopted country. Who is his mother? Who is his father? They are not big people in the government. The man is a black man with no father or mother, trying to be president over a country! Those who lived through the turbulent final years of the George W.
Bush administration remember that it brought out the worst in a lot of people — not just in the bankers and politicians who let the crisis occur in the first place, but in ordinary citizens brought to the edge by the threat of financial ruin.
Mbue realizes this, and she does not pull punches. Behold the Dreamers is, at times, hard to read — not because of her writing, which is excellent, but because the characters keep getting hit, over and over again, by horrible circumstances beyond their control.
Jende is reminded that "bad news has a way of slithering into good days and making a mockery of complacent joys;" Neni feels "crushed" by her own feelings of helplessness, "the fact that she had traveled to America only to be reminded of how powerless she was, how unfair life could be.
Behold the Dreamers isn't a satire, but it's frequently caustic, and Mbue can be unsparing in her depiction of the elite who didn't see their very existence threatened by the financial collapse.
In one scene, Clark's wife commiserates with a wealthy friend about the crisis. Her friend's priorities are almost comically misplaced: "But it's scary how bad this could get," she says, "When people start talking about flying coach and selling vacation homes That's not to say Mbue doesn't lack compassion for her characters — while some are oblivious, they have real problems of their own, and she's never cruel or condescending.
Mbue's heart is with the Jonga family, torn between their love for — and disappointment with — America. But it's also with the Edwards family, unable to cope with the thought that their days of privilege might soon be coming to an end.
Behold the Dreamers is a remarkable debut. Mbue is a wonderful writer with an uncanny ear for dialogue — there are no false notes here, no narrative shortcuts, and certainly no manufactured happy endings.
It's a novel that depicts a country both blessed and doomed, on top of the world, but always at risk of losing its balance. It is, in other words, quintessentially American.