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Posts Tagged ‘J.P. Morgan’

Dana Vachon Tries on Heir Apparent Mantle

This is surely the week of Dana Vachon, whose combination of blogging and banking experience plus eye popping book deal is now bearing fruit with the release of his debut, MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS, touted as the next heir apparent to Jay McInerney‘s BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY. The New York Times tracked him as he went out clubbing and also incorporated M&A into a trend piece about Wall Street books. New York Magazine had its own profile of the former J.P. Morgan banker. Now it’s the New York Observer‘s turn, as Lizzy Ratner sits down with the author while he eats a “goddamn good breakfast” in Balthazar.

Explaining how the thinly-vield roman a clef came to be, Vachon said “I felt like I was living with a bunch of people who had wrongly identified themselves as a post-9/11 generation. And I felt like I they were one of the most gilded and privileged groups to ever land into anything, that nobility no longer obliged but sort of entitled. I wanted to set down a portrait of this generation. Period,” he continued. “What’s the great Flaubertian quote? ‘All it takes for a member of the bourgeoisie to be happy is good health, selfishness, and stupidity, but the first two will get you nowhere if you don’t have the third?’” he said, slightly misquoting the author. “I love that.”

The question is how Vachon and his novel – Riverhead‘s “lead fiction title” for the moment according to his editor, Geoff Kloske – will be received. All the usual launch parties and off-the-book features apply, but the feature’s slightly sniffy tone about the book seems to indicate [his] skepticism that Vachon even has another novel in him. But Vachon makes it clear he’s got a tangible idea for book number two: “It’s a book about space tourism, Westchester County, instant unwanted fame and, um, the possibility of a new beginning, maybe? Of renewal? I mean, I feel the book I just wrote is so much about cities built on cities built on cities, and this one is not.”

Although if for whatever reason, Vachon decides not to write books anymore, he can always sing*:

*That’s Vachon singing “Perfect Gentleman” with Wyclef Jean at the Audi Forum in New York City on December 5, 2006.

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Can There Be Life After Harry Potter?

Though Julie Bosman and Motoko Rich don’t flat-out ask this question in their New York Times piece about the Harry Potter VII publication date announcement, this paragraph mid-way expresses the sentiment just as clearly:

It is hard to imagine how the publishing industry will ever replace the sensation that spawned midnight parties and all-night lines to get the books the moment they went on sale. When HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, the sixth in the series, was published in July 2005, it sold 6.9 million copies in the first 24 hours.

Especially as the answer is plainly obvious: they can’t. And to its credit, Scholastic isn’t pretending they can, though they do hope future projects will compensate for the revenue lost by their being nothing quite like the Potter phenomenon in the pipeline.

Then again, there might be; who would have expected the series to hit as it did when the first volume was released ten years ago? But even if one can be supremely confident that lightning will strike the bottle again – and that it won’t be aping what made J.K. Rowling‘s series so mega-successful – actively looking for that future success is, and always will be, a crapshoot. And unlike what J.P. Morgan analyst Frederick Searby thinks, even if Rowling were to “come out of retirement and pull a Michael Jordan” there’s little likelihood she’ll ever be able to replicate the success of the Potter books. Then again, she doesn’t really need to.