Reviews round-up

The critics' verdicts on Julian Barnes and Michael Perino.

Pulse by Julian Barnes

Tim Adams at the Observer is moved by this "perfectly weighted collection" of short stories dedicated to Barnes's wife, who died in 2008. He describes how "the first nine stories, if they are love stories at all, seem to be all about disconnection. The five that make up the second half are delicately concerned with each of the senses, the curious apparatus of touch and sight and smell and hearing and taste that represent all we have to get close to another person."

Tim Martin at the Telegraph notes that Barnes's stories are about our national character but also more. "Barnes's precise, acerbic novels and stories are a million miles from the state-of-the-nation stuff that tends to dominate modern writing about 'Britishness': but in the fictional works about the psychology of these isles, they're very near the top."

D J Taylor at the Financial Times is less bowled over. He suggests that Barnes is obsessed with "stuff" before concluding: "What weakens the less successful stories in Pulse is their surfeit of information."

The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance by Michael Perino

Frank Partnoy at the Financial Times is enthusiastic about the narrative power of this tranche of financial history: "Ferdinand Pecora's famous ten-day investigation into the secrets of Wall Street in 1933 makes a superb story. The heavyweight battle . . . has a hero, a villain and a million victims." He goes so far as to find inspiration -- "It is a lesson in how the government should attack financial fraud" -- and doesn't slow the praise when it comes to the credibility of the book's author: "It has an ideal storyteller in Michael Perino, a law professor who has scoured transcripts and archives for details about the plot and characters."

The Economist agrees with Partnoy that there is inspiration to be found here -- "Mr Perino's book is potent testimony to the way in which one person can help crystallise the interpretation of an event" -- yet draws disappointing parallels with investigations into our current financial crisis: "That Congress's current Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, though modelled on Pecora's, has yet to produce similar drama only reinforces the point."

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Casting the Brexit movie that is definitely real and will totally happen

Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad Boys of Brexit will be gracing our screens, or just Farage's vivid imagination.

Hollywood is planning to take on the farcical antics of Nigel Farage et al during the UK referendum, according to rumours (some suspect planted by a starstruck Brexiteer). 

Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad Boys of Brexit will be gracing our big or small screens, a DVD, or just Farage's vivid imagination, but either way here are our picks for casting the Hollywood adaptation.

Nigel Farage: Jim Carrey

The 2018 return of Alan Partridge as "the voice of hard Brexit" makes Steve Coogan the obvious choice. Yet Carrey's portrayal of the laughable yet pure evil Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events makes him a serious contender for this role. 

Boris Johnson: Gerard Depardieu

Stick a blonde wig on him and the French acting royalty is almost the spitting image of our own European aristocrat. He has also evidently already mastered the look of pure shock necessary for the final scene of the movie - in which the Leave campaign is victorious.

Arron Banks: Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais not only resembles Ukip donor Arron Banks, but has a signature shifty face perfect for the scene where the other Brexiteers ask him what is the actual plan. 

Gerry Gunster: Anthony Lapaglia

The Bad Boys of Brexit will reportedly be told from the perspective of the US strategist turned Brexit referendum expert Gerry Gunster. Thanks to recurring roles in both the comedy stalwart Frasier, and the US crime drama Without a Trace, Anthony Lapaglia is versatile enough to do funny as well as serious, a perfect mix for a story that lurches from tragedy to farce. Also, they have the same cunning eyes.

Douglas Carswell: Mark Gatiss

The resemblance is uncanny.

David Cameron: Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott is widely known for his portrayal of Moriarty in Sherlock, where he indulges in elaborate, but nationally destructive strategy games. The actor also excels in a look of misplaced confidence that David Cameron wore all the way up to the referendum. Not to mention, his forehead is just as shiny. He'll have to drink a lot of Bollinger to gain that Cameron-esque puppy fat though. 

Kate Hoey: Judi Dench

Although this casting would ruin the image of the much beloved national treasure that is Judi Dench, if anyone can pull off being the face of Labour Leave, the incredible actress can.