Adam Haslett's new novel mixes finance and power

Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:27am EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters) - American writer Adam Haslett has always been fascinated by power, particularly the kind wielded by a singularly influential institution like the United States' central bank, the Federal Reserve.

His first book in 2002, a best-selling collection of short stories called "You Are Not A Stranger Here," dealt with themes such as estrangement and suffering and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.

But when he turned to write his first novel, "Union Atlantic," which is released next month, he delved into the world of finance, tackling topics such as wealth, greed and power.

Little did Haslett, 39, realize when he started work on his novel seven years ago that he would finish his book the week before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the worst global financial crisis in generations.

Haslett spoke to Reuters about his writing:

Q: It's been a while between books. Why so long?

A: "It's been five years of full-time writing on the book and the other two years I was finishing law school at Yale so it was a while before I got started. Since 2003 I have been pretty much full time on it."

Q: Did you know much about the financial markets beforehand?   Continued...