Aifric Campbell has written one of the best books I’ve read this year. At first, I thought On The Floor was about trading and high finance and being a powerful woman on the top floor of a firm such as Morgan Stanley. And then, I realized it is about the raw pain and development of Geri Molloy, a woman with a rare gift for numbers and a search for healing and direction.
Geri has so impressed financier Felix Mann with her acumen for numbers, and her ability to pass some nonverbal test he gave her by serving her a dinner in Hong Kong of unmentionable animal parts, that he will only receive her calls. Not calls from the Grope, her boss, and certainly not calls from a Texan seeking shares, which Mann holds in Vulkan Valve, for his own Texan Pistons. And so Geri is sent from London to Hong Kong to find “a simple answer to a simple question.” What will Felix Mann do with his shares?
But against this critical question lies another critical issue for Geri. She is unable to get over her relationship with Stephen, who has clearly been able to get over her. When she runs into him in Hong Kong, amazingly present in the periphery of Felix Mann’s offices, a pivotal event occurs which thrusts Geri into facing her past. Her present. And what she will do with her future. Surely her pain cannot be quenched with vodka or Diazepam any longer.
Campbell’s writing is brazen and bold, a fresh look at the financial world which is told through the eyes of a brutally honest, and ultimately brilliant, heroine. I loved this book.
Aifric Campbell spent thirteen years at Morgan Stanley where she became Managing Director on the Longdontrading floor. Aifric teaches at Imperial College, London and has previously taught at the University of East Anglia, University of Sussex. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, The Irish Times, ELLE and Tatler, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Business Post. On The Floor was long listed for the Orange Prize, 2012.