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Book Review: Hedge Fund Wives by Tatiana Boncompagni

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Tatiana Boncompagni’s Hedge Fund Wives is the story of Marcy Emerson. When her husband John is promoted to be a big-time hedge-fund manager, she quits her job and moves to New York with him to start their new life. However, she finds it difficult to fit into their new social circle of wealthier, snootier hedge fund wives. Against the backdrop of the U.S. recession, while their new colleagues are losing money, John has not yet had to deal with such shortcomings, which makes it all the harder for Marcy when she discovers that he is having an affair with a young, prettier, blonder model.

Yet there are those around them of a higher pedigree who are also facing scandal of their own, and not just financial. Just to pick one, Marcy’s newest, closest friend, gourmet recipe book author Gigi Ambrose, is facing a countervailing backlash over her latest book, as the subject matter is deemed insensitive due to the fact that the economy is in freefall.

Aside from the scandal and heartbreak, the glimpse into how the wealthy live is enough to turn any shop-a-holic green with envy: the houses, clothes, shoes, furniture, décor, art, and perks are to die for; and the salaries… are simply astronomical. The last time I got a headache like that over a row of zeroes was in the opening chapter of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, in which he explores the creation of the universe. Indeed, the lives of those at the top of the New York social hierarchy makes life on the Planet Raxicoricofallapatorious look normal.

Boncompagni’s insight into the lives of the super-rich is mind-boggling, hilarious, and toe-curling. No doubt some of the anecdotes are from her own experience of mixing with those who own, create, and grace the pages of Vogue, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, for whom she has written. Being her own personal accounts makes them both all the more realistic, and all the more unbelievable. Some of the scenes would fit comfortably into a French and Saunders sketch, or a Joan Rivers gag.

While I envied Marcy’s wealth, home, and most of all her ability to get a job; I could not help but sympathise with her over her fall from grace, and admire her resolution to get back up again.
Hedge Fund Wives is the perfect companion to a lazy Sunday afternoon, preferably with a cold drink and some silky-smooth chocolate by your side. It may even spur the poor unemployed like myself to get a good job, if not purely for the sake of spending the wages on Fifth Avenue.

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