Jonathan Dee’s latest book, The Privileges, is a funny, tragic, loving tale of a family reaching the heights of success in New York City. The novel begins with the marriage of Adam and Cynthia Morey, who are in a hurry to start a new life. While Cynthia has two children before the age of twenty-five, Adam’s star rises as he becomes his boss’s protégé and shines in the world of finance. With plenty of money to spare, they acquire a beautiful home in Manhattan and seemingly enjoy their new found riches and success.
However, the characters’ standards grow faster than their wealth. The future of an almost boundless privilege (hence the title), in which any of their desires and dreams are made real, is not enough to suit them. As Cynthia is home with the kids, she begins to drift into boredom of her day to day life. Adam is confronted with a choice that tests how much he is willing to risk to keep his family happy.
The characters that Dee writes about are stories in and of themselves. For example, the wedding scene is written from a variety of guests’ perspectives, including the caterers, the wedding planner, and Cynthia’s jealous mother. Dee seems to approach all his characters with a unique understanding of dialogue and point of view.
The novel climaxes as the Morey’s children face their own crises as well as the possibility of their own death. The Privileges is an intriguing tale of greed, creating an appealing portrait of a world won by risk and insider trading. The Moreys become so impossibly rich they don’t seem quite human to others, and, of course, money doesn’t ease their suffering.
The Privileges is an exploratory journey of a couple touched by fortune, guided by their love for each other. This book a timely narrative of wealth, family, and what it means to leave the world richer than when you found it.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Random House. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.