Das Kapital: A Novel of Love + Money Markets
by Viken Berberian
Simon & Schuster, $23
I have never been to France, but Viken Berberian’s second novel Das Kapital: A Novel of Love + Money Markets made me feel like I was strolling through the south side of the French coast. From the towering skyscrapers of New York City to the serene beaches of Marseilles and Corsica, Berberian takes the reader on an exciting tale of financial markets and relationships with a uniquely exquisite poetic style.
With his past experience within the finance industry in Paris, Marseille, and Manhattan, Berberian has first hand knowledge of the inner workings of financial markets. It is with this knowledge that Berberian created the main character of the novel, Wayne. Wayne is a successful stock trader on Wall Street, who makes a living by shorting stocks (profiting from shares losing value). In layman’s terms, Wayne profits from disaster and chaos. As he himself explains in the book, “Revolution, recession, devaluation, bankruptcy, war, genocide, earthquake, natural and man-made disaster, coup d’etat, nuclear meltdown; anything that might send a country into the scrap heap of history. You name it, we’ll trade it.” As a veteran stock trader, Wayne has a knack for predicting falling markets. To further his stock shorting operation, Wayne even goes as far as hiring a Corsican militant associate—a militant who, interestingly, crosses paths with a love interest of his.
Das Kapital is an interesting novel with a unique view of present day financial markets. Having worked in the three main cities where the novel takes place, Berberian’s personal accounts help him paint a vivid picture of the setting. A homage to Marx’s original Das Kapital, Berberian portrays the worlds of finance, capitalism, and love with a fresh and unusual perspective. I would often think about the state of the world and economy while reading his book. Although, at times, certain parts were a bit wordy, I would recommend this novel for anyone interested in a different view of capitalism than that commonly presented in the American media and textbooks.