On The Floor by Aifric Campbell

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.


9 thoughts on “On The Floor by Aifric Campbell”

  1. This isn't something I would ever have expected to pick up, but you make it sound absolutely fascinating! Thanks for the tip, Bellezza!


  2. Thank you for saying that, Andi, but I don't think I can give proper credit to what Aifric can do with words. She literally had me crying at the end, although ultimately, it's not a sad book.


  3. Someone so knowledgeable in the field of finance must be a good storyteller in that context. Thanks for introducing us to this novel. I'm particularly interested in the setting, Hong Kong, where I was born and grew up. 🙂


  4. I don't like numbers much, either, Jennifer, but I loved the story and the extremely sharp writing, and the dialogue between the traders is like nothing I hear in my own job, within a classroom's walls.


  5. I didn't know you grew up in Hong Kong! How wonderfully exciting that must have been, and I wonder how much you must miss it. Most of the novel takes place in London, and Hong Kong's elite hotel rooms, but I'm sue the setting would still bring back memories for you.


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