Nomi Prins on 'Black Tuesday' and Occupy Wall Street

October 19, 2011 | | AlterNet |

When Nomi Prins bursts into the room, you feel enormous energy and the fresh air of freedom. When her feisty spirit runs up against injustice, you immediately feel the power of her outrage. And these days, like the rest of us, her outrage is directed against Wall Street, a place she knows all too well, having worked for over a decade in global investment banking, including as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, before quitting to make a more honest living. 

In her 2009 book, It Takes a Pillage, Nomi Prins skewered the Wall Street practices that took down our economy. Unlike so many unfocused accounts, she helped us understand that Wall Street, and no one else, caused the crash and continues to cripple our economy.  

But in her new work of fiction, Black Tuesday, Prins chooses a different mode of expression to deepen her critique. She dives into the eternal verities – love, power and money -- to build the core of the story. She chooses the 1929 stock market crash as a backdrop to an improbable romance between a Wall Street banker and a Russian-Jewish immigrant young woman, who, like Prins, is bursting with talent and courage. As Prins moves us from the Lower East Side to Park Avenue and back again, we feel the tensions of class and the ways our humanity can break through them. But these are not cardboard characters. Nor is this novel a rerun of agit-prop novels from the 1930s. Rather, the characters are alive with contradictions, weaknesses and valor. I’m not going to give away the plot, but rest assured, there are plenty of thrilling twists that will prevent you from putting the book down.