Books: “The Vegan” by Andrew Lipstein
There is this emotion called guilt, which can drive us to do strange things. Like commune with our neighbor’s dog. Stop eating meat. Or not so strangely, develop a social conscience.
In Andrew Lipstein’s new novel, “The Vegan,” Herschel Caine, an ambitious hedge fund manager, and his wife Franny, who designs furniture, host a small dinner party in their newly acquired Cobble Hill row house. The objective is to impress the accomplished couple who live next door. During the course of the evening, something unfortunate occurs, which leads Herschel to a wave of guilt that rivals Raskolnikov’s—and eventually a reevaluation of everything he believes in.
At the same time, Herschel’s upstart hedge fund is on the brink of flourishing. His team of quants has developed an ingenious algorithm that by tricking the market promises investors an impossibly high rate of return. Herschel is tasked with raising investment capital for the firm without revealing the “secret sauce.” But rather than basking in the moment, Herschel feels guiltier than ever, which leads to more erratic behavior.
“The Vegan” is a thrilling, fast-moving and brainy novel that for certain types who roam the earth may well be the book of the summer. Props to Lipstein, whose storytelling talent revealed itself in his earlier novel “Last Resort” and whose genius in naming his baby son August, IMHO, is unparalleled.
Like this review? Follow me at “What Does Aug Think?” at acsntn.substack.com. Thank you!