The Fear Index (Anglais) Relié – 29 septembre 2011
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"In The Fear Index , the latest thriller by Robert Harris, now heading for the Christmas bestseller lists, a brainbox hedge fund manager with little in the way of interpersonal skills discovers that his computer-driven trading system has flown out of control and threatens to send the world's stock markets into a tailspin. Anyone familiar with Mary Shelley's Dr Frankenstein will recognise the genre of the oddball genius consumed by his own creation - populist fiction at its best." (Spectator)
"I would recommend The Fear Index, the new novel by Robert Harris that delves into the world of modern finance. The writing is as elegant as ever" (Lionel Barber Financial Times)
"Robert Harris is renowned for his historical novels, although his eighth offering, The Fear Index, could hardly be more contemporary and relevant . . . Harris writes with a deceptively languid elegance, so that the novel straddles not only the crime and sci-fi genres but also that of literary fiction. A satisfying read on a number of levels, it is strongest as a character study of a man who discovers, pace Hemingway, the true meaning of the phrase "grace under pressure"." (Irish Times)
"Robert Harris's eighth novel is a timely blockbuster of a thriller that takes the global financial meltdown as its backdrop, with nods to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein . . . An assuredly intelligent and deftly-paced novel, the fear of the protagonist is increasingly palpable as he's buffeted by genuinely unexpected spine-chilling twists. Perhaps the greatest thriller writer around, Harris has delivered his best work yet. A modern classic." (Irish Examiner)
Présentation de l'éditeur
His name is carefully guarded from the general public but within the secretive inner circles of the ultra-rich Dr Alex Hoffmann is a legend - a visionary scientist whose computer software turns everything it touches into gold.
Together with his partner, an investment banker, Hoffmann has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that tracks human emotions, enabling it to predict movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions.
But then in the early hours of the morning, while he lies asleep with his wife, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of their lakeside house. So begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence as Hoffmann attempts, with increasing desperation, to discover who is trying to destroy him.
His quest forces him to confront the deepest questions of what it is to be human. By the time night falls over Geneva, the financial markets will be in turmoil and Hoffmann's world - and ours - transformed forever.
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Like most of the others contemporary-set Harris' novels, one's can't refrain to think that the plot is a - brillant and original - revamping of some past novels from others, unacknowledged authors, and that the last third pages are poorer than the rest and the ending somewhat inconvincing.
The Fear Index begins to feel feeble at half-mast, and slowly goes downhill form there.
A good read for a train or plane journey, not a great Harris halas.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
The story is loosely based on a true event: a 1000-point loss in the Dow Jones Industrial Average that took place in a few hours on May 10, 2010. The market recouped nearly all of its loss by day's end. If you don't remember that, and have never traded an option or set up a hedge , you probably won't enjoy this book. It's aimed at investment junkies, specifically those known as "quants" who get off on sophisticated mathematical models and AI.
Harris has done his usual thorough research on this complex subject and presents a story of a computerized trading scheme run wild. It's the 2010 version of 2001's HAL.
Characters are generally well developed and the plot believable. It fizzles out a bit at the end, but by then you've either put it down or enjoyed the concept enough so the ending doesn't matter so much.
It would be nice to see a sequel. But then judging from the difficulty I had finding this book, there probably aren't enough literate investment junkies around.
Harris is still one of my favorite novelists. I will be fascinated to find out what his bright, diverse mind will come up with next.
Fear in this story appears in multiple shape, such as fear of a stock crash, fear of debtor default. And much more.
The main character is a superrich 'financial engineer'. He is very successful with an investment algorithm based on fear symptoms in the public. He is obsessed with developing an artificial intelligence with learning abilities. He prefers the term AMR (autonomous machine reasoning) over AI.
We are in Geneva, the city where Sissi died and where the Higgs boson was found. On the evening of the start of the novel, the hero wonders who sent him the first edition of a Darwin book (Expression of emotion in man and animal) with a marker in a page illustrating fear in humans.
That same night, the man surprises a burglar in his villa and gets whacked on the head with a fire extinguisher. The brain scan shows some unclear spots which need to be further investigated to remove uncertainty. Is it a pre-existing condition?
After just a few chapters, we have seen fear in all shapes. We have gone through the physical fear of the burglar, the fear of an injury, the fear of a prior brain condition. The fear of losing his wife, of his marriage breaking up. When our man looks out of his car and believes he saw the burglar looking out of a tram, he fears he has gone mad.
The suspense is based on uncertainty about the nature of the problem. We do not understand what is happening for some time. Is it a conspiracy? Or a case of plain fraud and whodunnit? Or identity theft for other reasons? Or is our genius a nut case?
Unfortunately, Harris does not succeed in keeping up the suspense till the end. Somewhere after four fifth he loses steam, at the time when the pure action heats up. Maybe unavoidable with this plot.
Harris has written some excellent thrillers (most recent one was The Ghost, filmed by Polanski) and some good novels about ancient Rome, mainly about Cicero. He is worth following. This novel here is interesting but ultimately not entirely satisfying.
Without inserting spoilers here, by the end of the book I was still wondering why (the deeper why, not the facile "why" so briefly mentioned) did all of those events happen to the main character...? The novel had a point: the dangers of AI and algorithmic trading (plus the greed and fear), and it was unclear why the author basically jettisoned that theme to go off on a tangent about an under-developed and unlikable character. It's too bad, because if the other themes had been developed, I believe the author could have said something new about them.