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U.S. | Education & Student Activism

Finally! An Occupy Novel − reviewed
by Harvard Writers & Publishers
Wednesday Sep 5th, 2012 1:34 PM
Superb fiction with a side of harsh reality and a heaping of humor!
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TRADING DREAMS by J. L Morin
Harvard Square Editions; 382 pages;
paperback $14.95, Kindle eBook ¢99 & free
October 10-14 at Amazon and Amazon UK

Review by Dr. Yuko J. Nakanishi, Harvard Writers and Publishers

At last, a humorous novel that takes on the corruption plaguing the financial services industry. With wit and irony, TRADING DREAMS unmasks the forces that have contributed to the recent economic devastation affecting millions of average Americans.

Author J.L. Morin, nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2011, tells the riveting story of a young woman trying to assimilate into the old boy world of Wall Street. Jerry is elated when she starts working for a prestigious bank, but excitement turns into disgust when her villain CFO sets her up as a scapegoat for ‘robo-signing’ mortgages with no paperwork. It seems that nothing escapes his greedy clutches. The young career woman teeters spectacularly between life as a trading-floor cyborg and as a revolutionary battling Wall Street corruption . . . as if she didn’t have enough to worry about running from a murderer.

Jerry transforms herself, becoming a crusader against the establishment as she fights to right all of the wrongs that she has experienced. Interwoven into this story is the murder of Jerry’s mother, which adds another layer of complexity to the plot. Jerry’s inept boss attempts to unravel the murder, but it is rather a metaphorical plot twist that solves the mystery. Readers will have to wait until the end to discover who the killer is.

Living in the shadow of a murderer, Jerry is so troubled that she has pushed the genius part of her personality ‘Saphora’ deeper inside of herself à la Phaedra in ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE. The narrative voice is true, navigating a multitude of rivalries as well as both psychological and political corruption. When J. L. Morin reveals the cause of the murder, she also sheds a harsh light on the inside forces that gutted the banking system.

This is among the first novels to be published about Occupy Wall Street, the leaderless and non-violent resistance movement, which began in Manhattan near Wall Street in Liberty Square on Sept. 17, 2011 and quickly spread to many other cities across the U.S. including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, DC and to over 1,500 cities globally. With demonstrations in Portugal, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia, and Greece, among others, participants of the Occupy movement are diverse in their perspectives. Jerry drives home the activists’ central tenet that resisters are the 99% standing up to the 1% wealthiest people and adds, “It was the 0.01%-ers who had stolen the real money.”

TRADING DREAMS portrays protest activities including “occupying” public spaces in financial centers, marches, and rallies, and resulting in numerous clashes with law enforcement. The largest mass arrest of Occupy Wall Street supporters since the movement was evicted from its home base took place in November, 2011.

As arrests continue to give the movement new momentum, TRADING DREAMS will take you to the deepest levels of myth underlying the plight of today’s indignant youth against greed and corruption.