The Darlings by Cristina Alger
Published by penguin Books ISBN 9780143122753
Trade paperback, $16, 352 pages
Summary from the publisher's website:
I read this novel expecting it to be a take on the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. To a certain extent it was, being about a family whose work and family lives were entangled in a financial scandal. Carter Darling employed both of his sons-in-laws, one of whom was just along for the ride and one, Paul, who just came aboard after losing his job as an attorney at the beginning of the recession.
Not many of the wealthy characters are very likable in this book, except for Paul and Merrill. Although Carter came from a working-class background, he was now one of the 1%ers. He spoiled his wife and daughters, and lived a lifestyle to which most people cannot relate.
While reading this book, I thought that there were too many tangential characters. They didn't seem to be moving the story along, I didn't know why they were there. By the end of the story, Alger had put all of the pieces of the puzzle together so cleverly I had to admire her skill. Every character leads to something important.
I also enjoyed her descriptions of characters, like this one:
"Theresa Frankel was a middle-aged woman who looked as though she resided permanently at the intersection of boredom and disinterest."
One sentence and you knew immediately who Teresa was.
The Darlings is a well-crafted story, and even if you don't like most of the characters, you'll want to see where this story is going. And Alger throws in a twist at the end that is a game-changer.
rating 4 of 5