No Room for Losers

Michael Wood

  • Proust and His Banker: In Search of Time Squandered by Gian Balsamo
    South Carolina, 272 pp, £37.50, May 2017, ISBN 978 1 61117 736 7

The title of Gian Balsamo’s intriguing book is staid enough: Proust and His Banker. The subtitle – ‘In Search of Time Squandered’ – promises all kinds of adventures and invites us to toy with various riddles. When is an opportunity cost – a favourite term with Balsamo – not an opportunity cost? Perhaps when the opportunity turns out to be a disaster, or was never an opportunity in the first place. I find myself thinking too of the oxymoron, not fully declared or inevitable but certainly lurking, in the term ‘exotic securities’ – a phrase Rubén Gallo, in Proust’s Latin Americans (2014), uses of Proust’s Mexican investments.

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