Paris! Lock up your women, your bank executives, and your booze 'cuz Bob Johnson's midlife crisis is on the looze. Bob (Buhb) Johnson, a brilliant, dedicated player in the multi-billion dollar banking acquisition game is the lone wolf on a mission in Paris to secure his Canadian bank's bid to make the short list of acquiring a French bank. Soon a merciless boss and a forgiving bottle, the allure of the city and its spleen unfolds prompting Bob to question his commitment to the bid. Bob, a quick-witted divorcee arrives a ...
Paris! Lock up your women, your bank executives, and your booze 'cuz Bob Johnson's midlife crisis is on the looze. Bob (Buhb) Johnson, a brilliant, dedicated player in the multi-billion dollar banking acquisition game is the lone wolf on a mission in Paris to secure his Canadian bank's bid to make the short list of acquiring a French bank. Soon a merciless boss and a forgiving bottle, the allure of the city and its spleen unfolds prompting Bob to question his commitment to the bid. Bob, a quick-witted divorcee arrives a week early to brush up on his French, however, he inadvertently tangles with a homeless man, sleeps with a famous French actress, befriends a group of pick-up French basketball players, and encounters a woman who may or may not be his daughter, all of whom provide the electro shock he desperately needs to revive his "mojo" and connect with the human race again, but at what cost? "Banking On Paris" combines the worlds of banking and Paris in a charming and humorous manner.
"Despite the bevy of beauties in sight, " Samanski writes, "I became more distracted by the rollerbladers gliding by the cafe like N.H.L. defencemen back to touch the puck on an icing call. And of all the traffic, about ten unmarked lanes full of flesh and metal tension that zipped between my table and the Bastille, it was the bladers that earned my respect. The motorists, of whom several looked like Jack, were the lowest scum on the cobblestone throughfare; they routinely threw their ton of metal around with no afterthought of injuring the less fortified. The motorcyclists, they probably looked like Jack as well, though they wore reflective visors making them indistinguishable, were only one small positive rung up on the humanity scale. they were quick enough to avoid disgruntled motorists, yet the helmeted "heroes" tended to hit pedestrains first and ask questions later. Next on the scale were the scooterists, a ballsy, yet stupid group; their sewing machine-like motors conking out with surprising regularity when sqeezing in and out of a tight hole. Close to the top of my list were the cyclists who rode the cobbles with little protection, except their brakes.
But I felt a connection with the wheeled-gods of the cobblestones: the rollerbladers. Pedestrians normally only crossed a busy street at a green light, while the bladers shared the road with the Mad Maxes of Paris. These courageous, agile, environmentally friendly, sinewy, quick-thinking, unpadded warriors flew often as rapidly as the cars, yet they couldn't stop quickly like their larger-spoked cousins. I admired their independence, their capricious turns, their fast paced anonymous connection to the life of the city."
Samanski can write!!!
May 7, 2012
point guard in Paris
When we first meet Bob Johnson, the Canadain protagonist of Ken Samanski's novel, "Banking on Paris," he has just arrived in Paris and is trying to clean the "merde" off his Hugo Boss Cevi slip-ons and Canali pinstriped pants. Two weeks later, when he sets off for his last meeting with BTP -- the bank he is negotiating to buy -- he's wearing khakis and Converse high-tops. Buhb, as he he is called by his French acquaintances, has had a habit-changing and hilarious two weeks.
At least they seem pretty funny to the reader, if not to Buhb. Samanski's round-the-clock plotting (even Buhb's dreams are exhausting) finds his protagonist leaping into the welcoming beds of amicable French beauties, hurdling over the sprawled bodies of belligerent French indigents, and eventually tossing his Blackberry and probably his career into a trash can. Bob Johnson is having a midlife crisis on the Boulevard St. Michel.
His hotel isn't all that far fron the Luxembourg Gardens and the splendid park has -- of all things -- an outdoor basketball court. By happy coincidence, Buhb is an aging point guard. a point guard is the guy who has to make the game plan work; he knows the strategy, can think on his feet, and makes the play. These qualities, of course, are exactly what make Bob Johnson so good at his job, but is the job good for Bob Johnson? Our protagonist manages to play in a pick-up game most evenings. for someone falling apart and subsisting mostly on Heinekens, he puts in pretty full days. And nights.
Samanski has a perfect ear for interspersing French phrases into the English text, so that they are neither opaque nor ostentatious. He seems completely at ease when describing the banking world of acquisitions and mergers, the tempo of contemporary Paris, and "Frenchies" of all classes and persuasions.
Bookreview.com rate "Banking On Paris" excellent and looks forward to more Canadian expat adventures in Paris.
May 4, 2012
You CAN judge a book by its cover
This book lacks a plot with colour and depth. The descriptions are flat and fail to evoke vivid images that would make the reader feel, see, smell and experience Paris. The offensive language and persistent sexual references detract from any attempt at complete character development, and paints he French with a crude negative brush. The writer may have a sense of humour, but he fails to put it to paper. In English or French, it doesn't translate well. The plot isn't realistic. A bank never sends one individual to pitch for an acquisition. A well-known actress with a reputable career simply doesn't blindfold a man she just met, take him to her apartment, then have him find his own way back (what was the purpose of covering his eyes?). The cover is bland, just like the plot. It isn't inviting enough to draw you in. It doesn't help to evoke images of Paris. Glad I only spent ninety-nine cents on the ebook. It was a disappointing waste of a weekend. I hesitate to even give it one star.
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