Synopses & Reviews
A stylish and hilarious novel about the lives and loves of well-to-do young Manhattanites in their first year on Wall Street, destined to become one of the year's most buzzed-about debuts.
Mergers & Acquisitions is the story of Tommy Quinn, a recent Georgetown grad who has just landed the job of his dreams as an investment banker at J. S. Spenser, and the perfect girl, Frances Sloan, the daughter of one of New York's oldest moneyed families. As he travels from the most exclusive ball rooms of the Racquet and Tennis Club to the stuffiest boardrooms of J. S. Spenser, from the golf links of Piping Rock to the bedrooms of Park Avenue, and from the debauched yacht of a Mexican billionaire to the Ritalin-strewn prep-school dorm room of his younger brother, he finds that the job and the girl are not what they once seemed.
Sharply written, fast-paced, and bitingly witty, Mergers & Acquisitions is a compulsively readable story of Manhattan's young, ambitious, and wealthy. Set against the backdrop of money, lust, power, corruption, cynicism, energy, and excitement that is Wall Street, it is suffused with an authenticity that only an author who lives in that world can provide. A former investment banker at J. P. Morgan, Vachon offers an insider's point of view on the financial scene, and he knows the moneyed turf of Manhattan inside out.
"Greenwich, Conn. bred Vachon did a stint at JP Morgan after graduating from Duke, an experience that no doubt influenced this dizzying romp through investment banking heaven and hell, which rises and falls among numbing corporate indoctrination, pressure-choked deadlines, fabulously swank parties and an obscenely over-the-top business junket complete with kidnappers. At the heart of it all is Tommy Quinn, an upper-middle-class kid from Westchester whose Georgetown degree in Interdisciplinary Studies leaves him bereft of finance know-how. No matter, once Tommy hooks up with Princeton grad Roger Thorne (who has a real pedigree, a reputation for sexual prowess and a hot sister), and the two pursue careers based mainly on smoke and mirrors. Vachon's glee in poking fun at this complex, debased world is evident in his purposefully excessive descriptions of sex (particularly Roger's 'dude'-laden monologues), drugs and ruthless execs, but there's a certain amount of drooling involved, too, in the intricate descriptions of jewels and bonuses. Tommy's romance with Frances Sloan, a troubled trust fund heiress, is predictable (though still diverting), and his and Roger's careers (along with several gratuitous deaths that mark them) have denouements and aftermaths that feel forced at best. Imagine a tyro Jay McInerney without the pathos and the been-there, done-that offhandedness." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Vachon's broad comic tendency keeps intruding on the novel of manners he seems to want to write. This tonal puzzlement defeats Mergers & Acquisitions long before the events on the yacht jump the shark....If Vachon's signifiers seem drawn at leisure, his prose feels hurried." New York Times
"[A] fictionalized account of the underbelly of New York's financial world." New York Daily News
"[A] smart, satisfying roman à clef....The story is fast-paced, and his overblown characters are wildly engaging." Washignton Post
"I've always maintained that what we know as 'the 80s' never really ended, and Mergers & Acquisitions proves the point in spades. A Bright Lights Big City for the generation born around the time that Bright Lights Big City came out, Mergers & Acquisitions is a coming-of-age novel with a very nice balance of heartfelt insight and acid satire-including one of the funniest jerks I've ever encountered (in fiction)." Kurt Anderson, author of Heyday
"Wickedly funny and smartly written....Enormously entertaining and revelatory. And, like the best first novels, it holds the promise of much greater things to come." Financial Times
About the Author
Dana Vachon was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, and raised in Chappaqua, New York. He attended Duke University, and graduated, as he claims, "cum nihilo" in 2002. After graduation, Vachon landed a job as an analyst at JPMorgan and began work on this novel. His writing has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Men's Vogue, The New York Times, and Salon. He lives in New York City.