The Investment Club
In this novel, we follow the lives of a group of characters who meet regularly at a Las Vegas casino card table. Included are a recently widowed retired cop, a sportscaster also struggling with loss, a dancer/actress/singer laboring to launch a career, a former priest who runs a homeless shelter, and a successful entrepreneur with dwarfism. Also included is the nameless narrator, gender and backstory unknown, telling the sections that take place at the card table as he or she deals cards.
This story held me riveted most of the time, as the author takes us through each of the characters’ personal lives (except the narrator/dealer, whom we learn nothing about) and then back to the card table. The “regulars” not only gamble but begin to support each other financially and otherwise as they navigate difficult, damaged lives. The story is told through a series of short chapters that criss-cross back and forth in time, dated to help the reader follow the story and also labeled with the Dow Jones’s average for that day. I learned about the art of gambling, as the group not only bets on cards but also on horses and sports. These parts of the book, where the narrator explains gambling and casino life, might drag for the uninterested reader, but there will probably be few of those, as all strong storytellers can make the most mundane topic interesting. The prose style is strong, even poetic at times, extending a metaphor of gambling as life. A weakness might be that the story casts too wide a net in dipping into so many characters’ points of view across decades. Sometimes the story lapses in places into “telling” rather than “showing,” with some major conflicts that should be played out in scenes only summarized. Finally, I struggled well into the book with why the book was called the “investment” club when it seems not about investment but gambling. I was also bothered that we learn nothing about the narrator. But I realized these two issues have nothing to do with storytelling weakness and everything to do with symbolism.
|Page Count||329 pages|
|Publisher||Rare Bird Books|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|