GIVEN THAT A large chunk of our lives is devoted to accumulating and spending, why is this topic so neglected in fiction? Even novels centred on the workplace tend to treat it as a backdrop to people's social and emotional relationships. Not so Good Faith. In this excellent novel, the desire for wealth is the driving force and each person is defined as much by their relationship with money as by their relations with other people. Traditional expectations no longer apply in this world where, as the urbane Marcus Burns explains, marriage is about contracts and business is about relationships.
It's the early 1980s - remember all those malicious estate-agent jokes? - and Joe Stratford, the narrator, is a traditional realtor in a small American town. He's obviously a pleasant guy, with an endearing appreciation of women who tell him what to do or even, in some cases, who to