Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kane & Abel

I had heard a lot about this novel, so I thought let me pick it up. It is the tale of  of two boys growing up to become prominent men in America. Despite having troublesome childhoods, they have the will to achieve their objectives. One born to a rich banker of USA and another born in a forest of Poland. It focuses about their struggle in life and how they crossed roads with each other although both are from different worlds.


The story passes through famous historic events of the west; starting from the unfortunate sinking of the Titanic, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression of 1930, the Prohibition Era, the World War  and finally the assassination of John F. Kennedy which filled me enlightening facts. The flow of the story is rather predictable with some twists and turns. But it still kept me absorbed through out the book. While Kane becomes a well established banker, Abel establishes an empire of hotels. Their lives are interwoven by trivial incidents which become quite important later as the plot thickens causing intense rivalry between them. I wonder why this book is not made into a movie. While I read it, the images in my mind are so much similar to a screenplay of a blockbuster movie. Overall its a very good read and very gripping. Initially it may seem a little slow, but later it picks up pace very fast. Although this is my first read of Jeffery Archer, as one might expect, the climax is really good. Fifty pages spans for three to five years or more. I had to take a short break and look around me to make sure the time is - now. Apart from the main plot, one can learn a great deal about finance and commerce. 

This  paragraph contains spoiler. Read it when you are done reading the book. There are two events which touched me the most. One is when Kane criticizes Matthew, his closest childhood friend, for becoming a womanizer and an alcoholic and neglecting his work at the bank. He also finds out Matthew's irregularities are irreparable.  It is through his doctor Kane finds out about the situation when Matthew has just got three more months to live. Matthew has got cancer for over a year and he hasn't told anyone, not even his family. Another sequence of events brings out the  noble character of Alan Loyd. Kane competes against him for the chairmanship of the bank and loses. Kane hates to work under Loyd. Later, Loyd helps Kane to become the chairman at another bank and helps him to setup his family in New York. Then Kane realizes his mistake to suspect Loyd's abilities and generosity was a grave one.