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I felt trapped in the sort of novel in which a young curate sits on his own in his hotel room, leafing through his fine edition of Robert Browning, while his beautiful wife hands out with dockside minotaurs, feeling their deltoids. Throughout, Winder demonstrates an unalloyed, boyish enthusiasm for his subject. The book always comes back to the Hapsburgs but never passes up a diverting detour.

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Frances accomplishes this coup through chutzpah, media savvy, sexual magnetism, swift firings, brute force, and outrageous assertions that are nonetheless immediately accepted as truth. One could read the novel as a portrait of female empowerment -- a demented Lean In -- or as a statement about the amorality of capitalism set during a national financial crisis: A Year in Reading , , , , , , , , The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: She hasn't grown or learned anything or been developed by the author in any way. My globule is so melted right now that I need to go listen to some sitar music or visit a Japanese garden to re-coagulate it.

So if you'll excuse me View all 57 comments. Frankie Fitzsgibbons, at 46, has undergone an unexplained change in personality. It is not that she is recently widowed. Overnight, seemingly, she decides to take over the bank where she has worked reservedly for years as a loan officer. She makes up for the lost time with Larry by seduci Frankie Fitzsgibbons, at 46, has undergone an unexplained change in personality. She makes up for the lost time with Larry by seducing the local high school drum major. She bullies and blusters and succeeds beyond any justification.

She plays to the balcony. Sound like anyone you know? This was mildly entertaining; and, perhaps, instructive on how a charlatan can gain power and how he can be stopped. If they can be stopped. View all 5 comments. A revolution is under way at a once sleepy New England bank. Forty-five-year-old Frances Fitzgibbons has gone from sweet-tempered loan officer to insatiable force of nature almost overnight.

The terrifying new order institute A revolution is under way at a once sleepy New England bank. The terrifying new order instituted by Frankie and her offbeat goon squad led by her devoted hairdresser and including her own son-in-law is an awesome spectacle to behold. There are times the ever-present undertone of misogyny in a lot of quasi-analytic fiction by men swells to the dominant melody, the theme of the whole goddamn symphony, and this appears to be one of them. She's like unregulated banking! She's suddenly confident and with a powerhouse libido!

But she's also a crazy virago! And then she gets the liquid cosh - she's Ratched and McMurphy. And if you think those are spoilers, you know nothing about this kind of narrative, and less about misogyny. Will she be Saved by the Love of a Good Man? What do you think? You know, Shakespeare wrote about this woman called "Lady Macbeth. Raymond Kennedy should check it out. View all 8 comments.

Can't remember where I saw this book described as a forgotten classic, a ribald satire, etc. Unfortunately, I couldn't wait for it to end. It lost me about half way through. Looking back, I can see it is a satire of insanity in banking, and how people are willing to overlook outrageous behaviour "as long as we are making money. Also, there were some failed details -- the worst being the graffiti above the ur Can't remember where I saw this book described as a forgotten classic, a ribald satire, etc. Also, there were some failed details -- the worst being the graffiti above the urinal in the men's washroom, which supposedly was written in black spray paint.

Who has a spray can of paint to use in the employee bathroom at a bank? Much more likely to have been written simply in ball point pen. I also removed a star for the mention of Sarah Palin on the back cover. Completely unnecessary, and irrelevant. Shame on you, grasping at straws marketing department at the NYRB. It's probably because most of the books I read and log on GR tend to have a very small number of reviews - so the sampling is super wonky - but I'm pretty much without fail amused at readers reactions to nyrb selections. It's almost always this disparate melange of glowing reviews and utter bewilderment or just straight contempt - scrolling through them almost always reminds me in some small way why I dislike mostly everyone I know.

I don't know, maybe - I should probably just trea It's probably because most of the books I read and log on GR tend to have a very small number of reviews - so the sampling is super wonky - but I'm pretty much without fail amused at readers reactions to nyrb selections. I don't know, maybe - I should probably just treat the general reading public's reviews with the same apprehension that I treat the comments on basically every article on the internet. This is not a glowing review. I will not talk to you about how amazing the satire here is, nor how sharp.

I won't even spend any time praising the character of Frankie Fitzgibbons, or her wild antics. I don't think any of those comments are appropriate - there are traces of those things in the text; however the book doesn't really support those assertions. This is a fun book though. It is funny, and it is witty, and thankfully it doesn't take itself too seriously. The book operates under it's own internal set of rules and logic and doesn't deviate from them, presenting a setting at once familiar but filled with actions that are absurd and mostly alien.

I would say the reason this book succeeds is that it buys into its own brand of bullshit and never looks back or second guesses itself. Probably the other reason I like it is that my job overlaps into the banking industry, and so this all the funnier in a gross-exaggeration of some of my day-to-day kind of way. Clearly this isn't for everyone, but I think nyrb did a great job selecting this, and I'm glad to have spent the time reading it.

Jul 13, Gina rated it it was amazing Shelves: Of course Parker overstates his case as he freely admits but I'm kind of glad he did, because his review intrigued me, and I immediately ordered the book from Powells, and quickly read it. I loved the tight time frame that allowed the action to unfold like in a Greek tragedy, and Kennedy's characters were deftly drawn.

Fitzgibbons is a character study in modern life and her rise to power is as thought provoking as it is entertaining and horrifying all at once. Are we supposed to hate her? Would we hate her any more - or any less - if she were a man? The book at times reminded me of The Wave by Todd Strasser, how easily someone could gather power on the force of their personality, and how eager people are to follow a strong leader.

This is lit no doubt, but I think it would be accessible to many people. I actually thought that this book was quite cinematic. I can see why Parker thought this was relevant to current politics - a good read for this election season. The description of how a post-menopausal bank clerk, through amorality and sheer personal brutality, swiftly amasses an empire, Ride a Cockhorse is at once a hysterical and an intensely disturbing vision of the rise of fascism. I am burying my political convictions deep in the second paragraph of a blog which no one reads when I say that the personal style of the antihero, which consists of gross dishonesty expressed in a contemptuous and exaggerated masculinity, is one which presag Revelatory.

I am burying my political convictions deep in the second paragraph of a blog which no one reads when I say that the personal style of the antihero, which consists of gross dishonesty expressed in a contemptuous and exaggerated masculinity, is one which presages that of one of our own current presidential candidates, though you're welcome to guess which one on your own.

In any event, very much worth reading. Aug 13, Chuck LoPresti rated it really liked it. Read in a single stab - this is more fierce than funny. Possibly the result of developing a brain tumor while masturbating to Femdom porn and listening to Ayn Rand books on tape at the same time - Frankie goes apeshit banking power mad overnight and you get to experience it all with her in slightly less than amazing detail.

This book made me think about things I don't like to think about too often because I'm never quite confident or proud of my initial reactions to such situations. I write and Read in a single stab - this is more fierce than funny. I've seen episodes like this book illustrates repeatedly, seen 'em dragged out by cops, bifurcated from underlings in broom closets with only slightly less splash than the average ejaculation of a garden hose and I've seen 'em steal anything that will fit in a purse for sheer vindictive will.

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Generally speaking I loathe the Powersuit Pollys with shit-level educations and even less tolerable morals. So reading this was sort of like dreaming about work which I'd like to either cease or somehow be compensated for otherwise. But I also read and write from the vantage point of a father of a girl who I hope matures into a happy, powerful, and self-directed professional. And if I'm viewing the book as a lesson rather than lit - I'm opening discussions I'm not sure I want to have.

For example - what if all the gender roles in Cockhorse were swapped? I think Kennedy had to have those thoughts in mind as well. He does spare his readers some of this concern as he reduces everybody, apart from the hair dresser - and his intentioned androgyny, into some horrible creep, sycophant, toady or freak.

Like The Tenants of Moonbloom for example, these are all people that are easy to enjoy despite their obvious flaws. Frankie is no exception. Frankie doesn't walk the line between male and female, she picks the line off the ground, fashions it into a lasso, hogties her prey with it and smotherfucks their faces.

It makes me feel funny to write like that. And this book is very funny at times - but as sophisticated humor demands - there is pathos to give it all depth. Frankie's Quixotic focus is exactly as reality-excluding as the Knight of the Sad Countenance as she is described as having no more than 4 hours of sleep a night during her brief and fiery sky-blossom. When she forcibly alights her throne she is no less defeated than Don Quixote and we love her no less for it.

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Ride a Cockhorse

There is a delightful amount of smut involved here - not much - but just enough to keep the reader focused on the sexual potential of every situation. Rabelais said from the gut comes the strut but in Frankie's case - it's slightly lower in origin as sexuality seems to be at the center of her drive to power. She loathes those with no sexual potential and only has any genuine affection for those who can excite her. A like minded crony remarks, "He fucks like a pizza. There are many such oddly sonorous notes that make this a delightfully unique read.

On the subject of music, this is a very musical prose that flows nicely throughout. This is well written and Kennedy's descriptive skill is appreciated. I thought that some of the character development was a bit lacking in parts as some of the supporting cast is thinly drawn - but the brisk pacing of the subject matter might have suffered with excessive psychological contemplation. If Stephan Zweig wrote this it would be well over a thousand pages and the sexy parts would be less sexy.

I imagine this book will offend the easily offended and inflame those that wrestle with sex and gender issues - but if you're willing to just be entertained - this book will enable that response in most attentive readers as well. Something sinister creeps under the water here. Ayn Rand said, "A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. A more sane man might would just beat himself instead. Aug 23, Pamfrommd rated it really liked it.

Raymond Kennedy: Ride a Cockhorse – The Mookse and the Gripes

A few years ago I read, somewhere out there in the vast Interwebs, something positive about this book. So I ordered a copy and it sat unread until last week when I took it on a beach trip. Maybe it was the perfect Atlantic Ocean days on the Delaware shoreline, but I enjoyed the book thoroughly. About half-way through I began to realize that the main character was shockingly similar to an old boss of mine. Not in all ways of course because the plot is quite outrageous; the book is silly in a A few years ago I read, somewhere out there in the vast Interwebs, something positive about this book.

Not in all ways of course because the plot is quite outrageous; the book is silly in a s mad-cap movie sort of way. But in subtle ways -- the arrogant strutting down hallways and ignoring subordinate employees, the habit of calling employees into her office only to make them stand silently at attention for several minutes while she finished clacking away on her computer, or rearranging a stack of papers, or rummaging through her purse.

Then I read a passage in which the main character forces an underling to shield her with an umbrella while she walks to her car, like a lackey for a member of the royalty. That sealed it for me. You don't have to have experienced an arrogant and slightly deranged employer to enjoy this book but it helps.


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Apr 09, Stephen Lovely rated it liked it. I thought this novel was hilarious, and that Frankie Fitzgibbons, a formerly sedate home loan officer who goes on a manic rampage and commandeers a small town bank, was deliciously entertaining. The novel gets a bit tiresome, as it probably must, since Frankie's mania gives her such an inflated sense of her own command of language that she rants virtually nonstop throughout the novel, and she can't help repeating herself. Still, a very funny look at the way people are drawn to, and seduced by, a I thought this novel was hilarious, and that Frankie Fitzgibbons, a formerly sedate home loan officer who goes on a manic rampage and commandeers a small town bank, was deliciously entertaining.

Still, a very funny look at the way people are drawn to, and seduced by, a powerful personality who decides to chuck the rules and use wild, over the top tactics to mow down everyone in her way.


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I couldn't resist her. May 06, Bj Strickland rated it it was ok. Powers, I expected more from this book. I did not find any humor in it. Nothing rollicking about it. It is a sad story about a woman whose mind goes over the edge and a lot of things happen before she is I do not understand what those who praise this see in it but then I'm also one of those who saw nothing attractive in "Terms of Endearment" or "T After the big buildup for this book from the New York Review Books and Ms.

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I do not understand what those who praise this see in it but then I'm also one of those who saw nothing attractive in "Terms of Endearment" or "The Big Chill" or "Confederacy of Dunces. Mar 14, Hoolie rated it really liked it. I love that people think this book is sexist. This protagonist is Trump just in the body of a forty year old woman with wide hips good legs and a healthy C cup. Think Helena Bonam Carter.

Instead of the stage called our US presidential election, she gets her rocks off a small town bank; terror-inspiring her co-workers and sycophants, controlling the media, gaining more and more followers, crushing rival bankers, and dominating upper management. You won't believe how far she goes. Are you I love that people think this book is sexist. Are you scared yet? The flaw is she hits 11 pretty often. Hate that in a woman. Still a crazy ride. Thanks for the reco Marco. Aug 26, Marc rated it did not like it. Call me a nattering nabob of negativism, but I didn't find a whit of humor in this sad tale.

Yes, I know it's satire, but what exactly was Kennedy satirizing: This was simply a painful read with few redeeming literary qualities. Jul 23, Karen rated it did not like it. I picked up this book because a reviewer I appreciate said it was one of the funniest books he'd ever read, but I cannot agree.