A Hell of a Story
A narrative that spans over sixty years --between 1906 and 1967-- it tells the parallel lives of Abel, a Polish immigrant, and Kane, a business genius born with a silver spoon. Archer immediately catches the attention of the reader with a brilliant opening sentence. "She only stopped screaming when she died." And that's Abel's mother, who expires anonymously, while her baby son is rescued by a Polish family with very limited means and many mouths to feed. Despite his fragile beginnings the baby, who will become Abel (pronounced like "able") only years later, survives to be later taken from his poor family and adopted by Baron Rosnovski. That way, Abel, like Rosnovski's natural son, will receive the good education his bright mind is ready for. But WWI comes, tragedy occurs, and Abel, who has seen his sister being raped and his brother killed by the Germans, is taken prisoner with the Baron. After the Baron's death and the German surrender, Abel is taken by the Russians to a camp and after several years and with the help of comrades, he miraculously manages to escape. More adventures in Europe, then in Turkey where he is almost executed, will eventually bring the adolescent to the US. A new life starts, business studies, the direction of a neglected chain of hotels that become enormously successful. Abel is now a rich man, eventually divorced, but with a daughter whose business talent matches Daddy's.
They advise writers to start their novels not at the beginning, but in the middle. Archer obviously didn't listen to that advise, for when he tells the story of William Lowell Kane he starts with his birth as well. And good for him. Kane will become a banker, like his father, be as financially successful as Abel, and more so with his family life. Eventually, he becomes the target of Abel's hatred. Abel is convinced that Kane is the cause of the suicide of his Texan good friend, the initial owner of the chain of hotels Abel will eventually develop and rename Baron Hotels, who loses everything during the crash of 1929 and whose application for a new loan at Kane's bank is denied. The reason why Abel is able to become a highly successful business man is a financial benefactor who insists in keeping his identity secret. That's the point where the lives of the two protagonists are no longer parallel and, based on a simple misunderstanding rooted in male pride, Kane and Abel will slowly but surely destroy each other.
The ironic twist: Abel's daughter and Kane's son fall in love and marry. No Romeo and Juliet here. They defy their respective father, hang on to their love, independence, and business savvy. Like their respective mother, they refuse hatred. Here, the young are definitely wiser than the patriarchs.
I really didn't want to part with this novel. Every night in bed, I would treasure every page. Archer, besides being very informative about the financial world, knows how to balance tension, tenderness, adventure, humor and satiric bite. A solid storyteller. What am I saying? A hell of a storyteller.
No dejes de leer esta novela!!! A pesar de correr un riesgo...
Como novela puramente de ficci?n, sin lugar a dudas, la mejor que he le?do!!!
Adem?s, es una novela para TODO p?blico: j?venes, adultos, hombres, mujeres, etc., etc.
Es tan buena y tan amplia con respecto al p?blico que la puede leer que también se convierte en un excelente regalo. Es casi imposible fallar al regalar este libro. De hecho, considero que es una gran opci?n para aquellos a los que no les gusta leer. Si con este libro siguen sosteniendo que no les gusta, no imagino con qué otro podr?an interesarse.
Si no lees en inglés y la consegu?s en espa?ol te sugiero que, si la encontr?s, LA COMPRES!!! Es muy dif?cil conseguirlo (por lo menos as? sucede hace mucho tiempo en Argentina).
Aunque, existe un RIESGO: después de esta, ser? dif?cil engancharte nuevamente con una novela de estas caracter?sticas (desde ya que hay excelentes libros, me refiero a este estilo, pasatista, como las de Archer, Wallace, Sheldon, etc.).
Si la consegu?s, no lo dudes, leela. No te vas a arrepentir.
Ah! Me olvidaba... Lamentablemente, Archer escribe dos libros m?s como continuaci?n de este: "La hija pr?diga" y "?Se lo decimos a la presidente?". Mi sugerencia: quedate S?LO con Kane & Abel.
Archer is a fine writer and there's no denying it. Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that most of his titles feature siblings or relatives, often in conflict. And he's become very good with this plot plan. Some say that Kane and Abel is his very best stuff and it may well be true.
I will not describe the plot; that's been done by many reviewers. However, I will say that you will not get bogged down in this 550-page volume and skip ahead to the end. Archer keeps you engaged to the extent that you will want to read it word for word.
I have only read a couple of other books by this author; but I liked this one best. Outstanding author.
It's my second time reading it its a great book and I was very happy to receive it for a reasonable price!
Are you kidding-this is a great story!!!!!!
Absolutely one of my favorites. I always recommend it, even to people who profess that they don't like to read. Are you kidding-this is a great story.