Freak Show

Freak Show

Profits of Doom

by Antony Loewenstein

Melbourne University Press, $32.99 pb, 285 pp, 9780522858822

One of the literary legacies of the financial crisis is a type of travel writing focused on the local social, economic, and environmental effects of unfettered global capitalism. There are two types of such books. Michael Lewis is perhaps the best known and most widely read author of the first kind, in which the reporter becomes a kind of tour guide to the financial freak show. In Boomerang (2011), Lewis shows how greed overwhelmed both the lenders and the borrowers of cheap money in places like Iceland, Ireland, and the United States. Reading him is like watching the circus through binoculars. The spectacle is both vividly close and comfortably distant; we enjoy the show but feel no direct involvement in the unfolding action.

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Virginia Lloyd

Virginia Lloyd

Virginia Lloyd is a literary agent and the author of The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement (2008). Her essays have appeared in a range of publications in Australia and the United States, where she is based. See:

[Photograph by Daniel Seth Pagel]

Published in November 2013 no. 356