The holiday wasn’t all work (although below is the photographic evidence of me writing my next book). One of the novels I read was The Banker’s Daughter by Emran Mian. The daughter of an international banker flees London with her father when his BCCI-style bank collapses under allegations of fraud, some time before the global financial crisis. The two of them live an odd, deracinated life in a luxury hotel in Beirut. For the character of the title, the only meaning comes from designer shopping – until she discovers a photograph that raises in her mind a dreadful suspicion that her father has done something much worse than commit fraud. The action moves on to Lahore and finally back to London for the denouement. To say more would reveal too much about the plot.
The novel is a terrific read, a page turner with complex and credible characters – a rarer combination than one might hope. It is set in not one but three universes completely outside my own experience – globe-trotting banking, designer-shopping levels of wealth, and a Pakistani family. Like all good novels, The Banker’s Daughter is universal and specific at the same time, and I found the depiction of these parallel universes really interesting. Highly recommended. We need more creative and literary engagement with the world of the bankers and financial markets.
As a footnote, I’m afraid my other fiction reading was crime novels. The latest Camilleri paperback in his Montalbano series, The Track of Sand, and another book by the outstanding South African writer Deon Meyer, Heart of the Hunter. Well, I deserved some lighter reading after writing about the history of GDP for two hours a day.