J R

By William Gaddis,

Book cover of J R

Book description

A National Book Award-winning satire about the unchecked power of American capitalism, written more than three decades before the 2008 financial crisis.

At the center of J R is J R Vansant, a very average sixth grader from Long Island with torn sneakers, a runny nose, and a juvenile fascination…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked J R as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If American Psycho is too bloody an evocation of hyper-capitalism for your stomach, try this tragically under-appreciated door-stopper of a novel, in which an eleven-year-old becomes a millionaire by playing the stock market. Written almost wholly in unattributed dialogue! As with Pynchon, everything written by Gaddis deserves to be on this list; alas, alas. 

From Travis' list on when you need a heavy dose of satire.

I read J R the first time in college, and it was the ideal combination of challenging, cynical, illuminating – and hilarious. The novel is a cult classic among well-read Wall Street types, but be warned: it’s 726 pages of almost entirely dialogue, with not much to guide you about who is speaking or where. Once you figure out what Gaddis is up to, the writing becomes immersive and you join a wild ride with the eponymous sixth-grader, who uses the school’s payphone between classes to trade surplus picnic forks, free catalog samples, and eventually controlling stakes in major companies.…

From Frank's list on financial schemes.

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