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About Peter Mountford
Peter's first novel, A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) won the 2012 Washington State Book Award. His second novel, The Dismal Science, was a NYT editor's choice. A fellow of Yaddo and Bread Loaf, he won the 2016 Gar LaSalle Storyteller award for a Washington State fiction writer.
Peter's short fiction and essays have appeared in the Paris Review, the Atlantic magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Southern Review, Granta, Conjunctions, and Boston Review.
The former events curator at Seattle's Hugo House, Peter is on faculty at Sierra Nevada College's MFA program, and currently lives in Seattle.
The Dismal Science is exuberant art, a deep, moving comedy about grief, guilt, and the heart's geopolitics. Mountford writes with soul and style and makes the plight of his protagonist count.
In his fiercely intelligent second novel, Mountford examines, with wry humor and sympathy leavened with a realistic accounting of Vincenzo D’Orsi's flaws and failings, the repercussions of a decision made in haste and -- perhaps -- regretted at leisure. Or not regretted. Who could have ever predicted that an economist at the World Bank could be such a terrific main character? I absolutely loved The Dismal Science.
The Dismal Science is a beautiful novel: stark, powerful, and life-affirming. Vincenzo's haunting journey will stay with me for a very, very long time.
Quietly wrenching, sharply drawn and completely un-put-downable. With The Dismal Science, Peter Mountford asserts himself as our generation’s most significant business-world ombudsman, a deft and unflinching exponent of the human side of a polarizing world few of us actually understand.
A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism is a terrific debut--smart, moving, beautifully written. Peter Mountford's parable of the voracious global economy reminded me of Graham Greene's The Quiet American in its clear-eyed depiction of the realpolitik of our age.
A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism is, quite simply, one of the most compelling and thought-provoking novels I've read in years. It's extraordinarily vivid, populated by characters whose fates I cared about desperately, beautifully written, timely beyond measure, but above all it conveys--with impressive precision and nuance--how we are vectors on the grid of global capital; how difficult it is to even attempt to be an authentic, let alone admirable, human being when we are, first and last, cash flow.
Peter Mountford's A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism is a sharp, funny and terrifying novel--in a world so much like our own (part of the terror: it may, in fact, be our world), Gabriel's actions and the reactions of those around him caused me to wonder, again and again: how do I wish to live in this world, and what latitude might I find?
Peter Mountford, in his amazing debut as a novelist, has updated the gilded myth of Wall Street swashbucklers in expensive suits and spun it out into the world in a hellbent tale, dramatizing the contorted rationalizations practiced by the financial elite to justify their self-delusion. Forget fame, respect, making the world a better place. Transcend the craving for money by acquiring a truckload of it. Buddha as a hedge fund operator, reallocating soullessness throughout the system.
A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism is a brilliant debut novel, one that is generous in giving readers an original cast of vividly-drawn and unforgettable characters, learned in its knowledge of the interwoven worlds of finance and politics, sexy, and thoroughly cosmopolitan. Peter Mountford is easily one of the most gifted and skillful young writers, already accomplished, I have had the pleasure of reading in many years.
In his debut novel, A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism, Peter Mountford has something important to say about the ambiguous moral ground where the personal meets the political. He has experience and sophistication beyond his years and is well-positioned to mine this vein. This novel is worth your time and attention.
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Something is amiss at the Hotel Angeline, a rickety former mortuary perched atop Capitol Hill in rain-soaked Seattle. Fourteen-year-old Alexis Austin is fixing the plumbing, the tea, and all the problems of the world, it seems, in her landlady mother’s absence. The quirky tenants—a hilarious mix of misfits and rabble-rousers from days gone by—rely on Alexis all the more when they discover a plot to sell the Hotel. Can Alexis save their home? Find her real father? Deal with her surrogate dad’s dicey past? Find true love? Perhaps only their feisty pet crow, Habib, truly knows. Provoking interesting questions about the creative process, this novel is by turns funny, scary, witty, suspenseful, beautiful, thrilling, and unexpected.
On his first assignment for a rapacious hedge fund, Gabriel embarks to Bolivia at the end of 2005 to ferret out insider information about the plans of the controversial president-elect. If Gabriel succeeds, he will get a bonus that would make him secure for life. Standing in his way are his headstrong mother, a survivor of Pinochet’s Chile, and Gabriel’s new love interest, the president’s passionate press liaison. Caught in a growing web of lies and questioning his own role in profiting from an impoverished people, Gabriel sets in motion a terrifying plan that could cost him the love of all those he holds dear.
Set against the stunning mountainous backdrop of La Paz and interspersed with Bolivia’s sad history of stubborn survival, this examines the critical choices a young man makes as his world closes in on him.
“Both of the book’s settings—desperately poor but proud La Paz, the world’s highest-altitude capital, and the world of go-go high finance, a realm about which Mountford clearly knows his stuff—are well rendered. The author is especially good at conveying the visceral and intellectual thrills of stock speculation/manipulation . . . smart, intricate, fast-paced.” —Kirkus Reviews
“One of the most compelling and thought-provoking novels I’ve read in years.” —David Shields, author of Other People
Winner of the Washington State Book Award
Mountford's follow up to A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism is at once a cogent political drama and an acute meditation on the fragile nature of identity.
he Dismal Science tells of a middle-aged vice president at the World Bank, Vincenzo D’Orsi, who publicly quits his job over a seemingly minor argument with a colleague. A scandal inevitably ensues, and he systematically burns every bridge to his former life. After abandoning his career, Vincenzo, a recent widower, is at a complete loss as to what to do with himself. The story follows his efforts to rebuild his identity without a vocation or the company of his wife. An exploration of the fragile nature of identity, The Dismal Science reveals the terrifying speed with which a person’s sense of self can be annihilated. It is at once a study of a man attempting to apply his reason to the muddle of life and a book about how that same ostensible rationality, and the mathematics of finance in particular, operates—with similarly dubious results—in our world.