Dear Money

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In this Pygmalion tale of a novelist turned bond trader, Martha McPhee brings to life the greed and riotous wealth of New York during the heady days of the second gilded age. India Palmer, living the cash-strapped existence of the writer, is visiting wealthy friends in Maine when a yellow biplane swoops down from the clear blue sky to bring a stranger into her life, one who will change everything. The stranger is Win Johns, a swaggering and intellectually bored trader of mortgage-backed securities. Charmed by India’s intelligence, humor, and inquisitive nature—and aware of her near-desperate financial situation—Win poses a proposition: “Give me eighteen months and I’ll make you a world-class bond trader.” Shedding her artist’s life with surprising ease, India embarks on a raucous ride to the top of the income chain, leveraging herself with crumbling real estate, never once looking back . . . Or does she? With a light-handed irony that is by turns as measured as Claire Messud’s and as biting as Tom Wolfe’s, Martha McPhee tells the classic American story of people reinventing themselves, unaware of the price they must pay for their transformation.

Praise for Dear Money

4 out of 4 Stars:“Consumed with want” and surrounded by a “gorgeous sea of wealth” India Palmer grabs an offer from Wall Street tycoon Win Johns: “Give me 18 months and I’ll turn you into a trader.” (Author McPhee received an identical proposition.) Meantime, her friend Will plans to chuck his banking job to write. In this trenchant satire of the ‘00s, characters learn that sometimes when you pursue your passion, you pay a high price.

People Magazine

A book that begins in July on a beach in Maine certainly sounds like a summer beach read. Dear Money is more than that. Martha McPhee’s entertaining fourth novel asks serious questions about what people live for. As the title hints, money is one answer.

Dallas Morning Star

Deep Down It’s All About Writing – Martha Mcphee’s Excellent Adventure.

Stuart Mitchner, Town Topics | Read the full review

A tour de force.

Elizabeth Fishel, The San Francisco Chronicle | Read the full review

A sharp and funny satire about wealth andfame.” My review of Martha McPhee‘s new novel, Dear Money, is in today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The element of the book I was most struck by, and one I wish I’d had more space to discuss, is McPhee’s skill at describing the push and pull between art and commerce, the way money both bolsters and corrodes India, her heroine.

Mark Athitakis, The Minneapolis Star Tribune | Read the full review | Read more by Mark Athitakis

In her new novel, “Dear Money,’’ McPhee tenders a funny, generous piece of social commentary, populated by a cast of characters who are amusingly, painfully human.

Joseph Peschel, The Boston Globe | Read the full review

Martha McPhee’s giddy new novel…

New York Newsday | Read the full review

For almost everyone, the money, or the poetry, or what-have-you, is just too “dear.” Dear Money has captured that battle–the one for “fineness” or something greater–in a way that causes us to look beyond the obvious and into the ambiguous.

The Wicked Witch of the Web

…a terrific storyteller, completely credible.  Dear Money, a novel deflating the literary life, deserves to be Martha McPhee’s most widely read novel.

Ron Slate, On the Seawall | Read the full review

WHO WOULD LIKE THIS BOOK: Readers of Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, Madeleine Wickham and Emily Griffin.

The Daily Basics

In Martha McPhee’s jaunty new novel, “Dear Money,” the spread of subprime mortgages and their frenzied trade on Wall Street forms the backdrop to a traditional story of an individual gradually succumbing to, and being corrupted by, the lure of wealth and all it promises.

Sylvia Brownrigg, The New York Times Editor’s Pick | Read the full review

Martha McPhee has written an original masterpiece, which responds to our dreams of being able to have what we want without worry…

Reviews from Amazon Vine Program | Read the full reviews

Recommendation from O Magazine’s “More Novels to read Now”

O Magazine | Read the full recommendation

McPhee, set free in the open landscape of fiction, seems to be playing out her darkest fantasy.  In so doing, she reveals the full sinister force of our grasping material side — and shows us what we lose when we’re so focused on acquiring.

Whole Living Review | Read the full review

Delivering virulent social satire with a velvet, humanitarian touch, McPhee’s timely send-up deftly parodies the fallout from misplaced priorities.

Booklist | Read the full review

Martha McPhee’s fourth novel wouldn’t be so funny if it didn’t ring so true. As the narrator of Dear Money, India Palmer has published four novels, none of which has sold more than 5,000 copies, and has written a fifth, which she had “come to hope…would be the winning ticket in the literary lottery where art met commerce.”Though it would be a mistake to reduce India to an authorial stand-in, the delicious irony of McPhee’s novel is that it deserves to be her own lottery winner, the breakout book that attracts a popular readership exceeding those drawn by the critical notices and prize nominations for her earlier work.

Kirkus Starred Reviews | Read the full review

I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a book down.  I read DEAR MONEY in cars, in waiting rooms, even at a rest stop on the turnpike.  I read whole passages out loud to my husband.  Martha McPhee is a wickedly good social observer, a writer of beautiful, lyrical prose, and a consummate storyteller.  This is a very smart novel that unpacks small surprises and pleasures on every single page.

Dani Shapiro, Author of Black & White

A skilled, always gripping satire of our foolish age.

Joseph O’Neill, Author of Netherland

Martha McPhee writes with verve and uncanny insight about those recent, heady dreams of easy wealth. This New York Pygmalian story takes us beyond what we thought we knew about money and art and all their precarious alliances, in an adventure that recreates the city’s temptations, both material and idealistic. Dear Money is conceived with such cutting precision and grace, it will make readers think of a contemporary Edith Wharton, but there’s a dark mischief here too, shades of Andy Warhol. Full of beautiful, unflinching sentences, this is an uncompromising, brave, brilliant story.

Rene Steinke, Author of Holy Skirts

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