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  • Michael Rosen Michael Rosen
  • Investment Insights are written by Angeles' CIO Michael Rosen

    Michael has more than 30 years experience as an institutional portfolio manager, investment strategist, trader and academic.

FIRESIDE READING

Published: 12-15-2020

Since my last update a few months ago (https://www.angelesinvestments.com/institutional-insights/still-beach-reading), I’ve moved from the beach to the fireplace, and am happy to share my reading highlights.

Before the Storm, The Invisible Bridge, Nixonland, Reaganland, Rick Perlstein

A decade ago, Rick Perlstein embarked on a political history of the United States through the lens of the conservative movement. Before the Storm chronicled the rise of Barry Goldwater, Nixonland took story to Watergate, The Invisible Bridge to the edge of Reagan’s triumph in 1980, and finally Reaganland. Each book is superb, and while the principal focus is on the conservative movement, that movement is often best defined by its liberal counterpart. Politics reflect society, and these books are as much social commentaries as political histories. Thoroughly researched, balanced and accessible, this series makes a foundational contribution to modern political history.

Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli

This is a truly exceptional work. The plot is not central here: a family of four drives from New York to Arizona. The characters have no names: Ma, Pa, boy, girl. The parents are sound documentarians, who met on a project to record the sounds of New York City, and the husband decides his next project will be to record the sounds of Apacheria, the land of the Apaches, the last native people, led by Geronimo, to surrender to the whites. The wife wants to document the immigrant children along the border as they are processed and deported. None of this really matters. In truly beautiful prose, the author weaves multiple narratives: the mother’s ruminations on her eroding marriage, her relationship with her children, and the plight of the immigrant children arriving at the border; the boy’s recordings of the car trip and adventures for the benefit of his younger sister who is too young to remember the details; the father’s stories of the Apaches; and finally, excerpts from a fictional book about migrant children. Interspersed are references to William Golding, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, Cormac McCarthy and David Bowie. This is a complex, erudite novel, but also a brilliant and beautiful one.

The Sea, John Banville

The book moves between the present, where his wife is dying, and reminisces of the past, a summer spent along the coast when he was a boy. It is a beautiful meditation on grief and memory, written with extraordinary beauty by one of the great Irish writers of our time.

Deacon King Kong, James McBride

This book is brilliant on so many levels. Mostly, it is a portrait of a community, a housing project in Brooklyn in 1969, filled with a colorful cast of Runyonesque characters. The everyday challenges faced by this community, as individuals and collectively, evoke the 1950s South-Central L.A. of Walter Mosley. Good people slip-up, but they are still good people. The plot centers on an old alcoholic nicknamed Sportcoat, his dead wife, Hettie, with whom he argues every day, the intrusion of heroin into the neighborhood, and a lost treasure hidden for an Irish mobster by an Italian one. It is a mystery novel and a crime novel, a traditional Western novel and a Shakespearean comedy all-in-one. But mostly it is a hilarious and heart-wrenching work of art about the profound difficulties a community faces on a daily basis, where some do not make it through, but most exhibit uncommon courage and resilience. This is a phenomenal novel from one of our greatest writers.

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