The Fall of Princes by Robert Goolrick
Published by: Algonquin Books
Published on: August 25, 2015
Page Count: 304
My Reading Format: Review copy sent to me for consideration by the publisher
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook
Summary from the Publisher:
New York City. The 1980s. Young men, princes all. Too much money. Too much freedom. They thought it would never end.
In The Fall of Princes, bestselling author Robert Goolrick brings to vivid life a world of excess and self-indulgence, where limousines waited for hours outside Manhattan’s newest trendy club or the latest dining hot spot. Where drugs were bountiful and not refused. Where no price was too high and flesh was always on offer. Where a quick trip to Europe or a weekend on the coast or a fabulous Hamptons beach house were just part of what was expected. When the money just kept coming, and coming, and coming . . . until it didn’t.
Looking back on a Wall Street career that began with great success and ended with a precipitous crash, Rooney tells the story of how he and a group of other young turks made it to the top in the financial world and then, one by one, took a fall. For some, it was tragic; for others, it was the simple but bruising act of yielding to a life of mediocrity. For Rooney, however, it became a lifelong struggle to maintain a sense of dignity and to cling to the illusion of the life he once led.
When I was growing up in the 80s, the lives of 20-somethings looked so glamorous on TV and at the movies. While I had never given Wall Street life during that time period much thought, when I found out what Robert Goolrick’s latest book was about, I was excited to get a glimpse at that decadent era. After all, by the time my generation came of age, grunge was in and vogue was out. After reading The Fall of Princes I was thankful both for my time with Rooney and that I missed the soulless excess of the Wall Street culture of the 80s.
With A Reliable Wife, Heading Out to Wonderful, and now The Fall of Princes, Robert Goolrick has brought three distinct, compelling worlds to life. I can’t pick a favorite. I’ve loved what he’s done with each. The Fall of Princes did, however, surprise me with the raw emotion of Rooney’s insight. As he reflected back at his time at the top and the society within which he experienced it, the more obvious things were not the ones that made him remorseful, hurt, or angry. The truth in those moments scraped my heart and made this novel worth reading.
Robert Goolrick is one of my favorite modern authors. He consistently creates characters with unexpected dark places that are perfectly in tune with his writing style. Goolrick’s novels consistently result in binge reading, even when I’m not in an especially open to getting lost in book. If I weren’t such a glutton for his work, I’d be tempted to save his next novel for a deep reading malaise. While I recommend Goolrick without reservation, what makes him special to me is the way his books always energize me to read more. They remind me why I became a book lover in the first place. You just can’t beat that kind of pleasure.