We’re a bit obsessed with Dana Vachon. There’s our Elizabeth Spiers, of course, who founded DealBreaker, is pals with Vachon and to whom his first novel, Mergers & Acquisitions, is dedicated. Then there are others of us at DealBreaker who left finance and make our living writing about it and can’t help but wonder about how this kid failed out of his analyst class at JPMorgan Chase into a huge book deal, complete with leisurely lunches at Balthazar and book parties at The Box.
But that’s not what we mean when we say We are a bit obsessed. It’s something bigger. What we mean by We is, well, all of New York. Or, at least, every publication in New York that also has New York in the title. First there was that New York magazine story. Then that New York Times bit. And now the New York Observer takes the kid out to lunch.
The Observer admits that Vachon can write but finds there is something offensively preppy-banker about the kid writing about preppy-bankers. Or are we just imagining the distaste oozing from this opening paragraph?
Dana Vachon, the 28-year-old banker turned blogger turned novelist about town, was not wearing socks. Just loafers. A buttery brown leather pair that may or may not have been Gucci and cocooned his feet to reveal just the manliest hint of hair-sprinkled skin. Set against an outfit of cobalt blue jeans, gold-coin cufflinks, and a gold-buttoned blazer, they perfected the look of a fresh Welton Academy grad who had just arrived for cocktails at the club.
The whole thing goes on like that, dripping with a sort of race/class/gender lit-studies horror that we had thought had become passé. How dare such a person write about their own social class? It’s as if he had forgotten that American literature was supposed to be confined the precincts of the dispossessed, both in subject matter and authorship. It’s almost some sort of re-colonization of the American mind! But this time the new imperialism works strangely in reverse, since the most likely audience for Vachon’s novel are the natives of a financial world, which still boasts a large population of people in loafers and blazers from good schools.
Surely this sort of thing is no longer permitted, right?
Update: Oh crap! We've just noticed Gawker has a similar reaction, which is making us rethink our entire approach.
Breakfast at Balthazar