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Book Review: The Fund by H.T. Narea

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There are certain novels that make you plead for more stringent rules for what can be published and what should be shredded. There’s also the occasion when judging a book by its cover is in-bounds. The Fund, the debut novel from investment banker H.T. Narea, was best kept a draft and personal writing exercise.

The novel is a straightforward thriller focused on the financial world. But even lending The Fund some certain-novels-are-just-entertainment leniency, it still fails. In multiple ways, the book reduces itself to a 500-page cliche.

The cover features a broad, gray-suited man with obligatory briefcase by his hip in-hand, facing a city while flames erupt behind him, or below him, or in the city –it’s not at all clear. The protagonist is a woman, by the way.

The Fund’s subtitle, “Money is the Weapon,” seems obvious enough, but without a wink of originality, it sets the story up as a simplistic portrait of a world caught in financial scandal. Read The Guardian or the New York Times and you’ll gather that’s the world today (and The Fund may be a story well-suited to the times, then). But, on-line, The Guardian and the Times are free — better writing, too.

What might be an indication of the whole story’s fallibility is the recurring “hazel-eye” variations. They serve as a symbol for The Fund’s general haste and inattention to detail. These “hazel eyes” are alternatively ‘deep’ and ‘large.’ Well, how many fathoms and at what circumference?

The Fund is an admission that the mass-market thriller genre serves to liquefy your brain.

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