From Library Journal

O’Neill’s previous novel, Netherland, won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and even garnered praise from President Barack Obama; critics applauded the novel for its poignant, postcolonial narrative of New York in the aftermath of 9/11. Here, O’Neill explores the inverse relationship between ethical stricture and our ever-expanding modern conveniences. The first-person narrative unfolds through an unnamed protagonist who relocates to Dubai to assume the role of financial trustee for the wealthy Batros family. When he is not mindlessly responding to emails and certifying documents with a rubber stamp, the trustee spends ample time scuba diving, enjoying massages, and remembering the make and model of each colleague’s luxury automobile. When a financial scandal descends on the family, the protagonist finds himself ensnared in legal and moral culpability. VERDICT A humorous meditation on the dialectics of attention and distraction in the modern world, O’Neill’s work playfully skewers the global economy of consumption and our abstract notions of responsibility in its perpetuation.

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