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White City by Kevin Power review – in the steps of Martin Amis

The story of a disgraced banker’s son, Power’s second novel is part rogue’s confession and part post-Celtic Tiger satire

The Irish author Kevin Power took time to follow up his 2008 debut, Bad Day in Blackrock, and his new novel, while lighter in tone, lifts up similar rocks to shine its beam on what lies beneath. Both are interested in the privilege of what F Scott Fitzgerald called “careless people”, and the messes they leave for others to clean up.

White City synthesises familiar forms into a whole: the rogue’s confession, the young man finding his way, the post-Celtic Tiger satire on puffed-up, self-perpetuating bullshit businesses. Our guide is 27-year-old Ben, son of a disgraced Dublin banker, languishing in rehab and writing an account of his wrong turns as therapy. He’s half-bookish, half-lazy, really just wants to write his terrible-sounding novel (“Decay: A Report”), and only gets a job when his father is charged with embezzling €600m from his bank and the money tap is turned off.

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