'On the Floor' with a former investment banker

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on February 27, 2013 in New York City.

Why set a novel about love and money and women in the work force on a trading floor? "To me, it was an obvious environment to tell a story," says Aifric Campbell, author of “On the Floor,” her second novel.

Set in 1991 during the first days of the Gulf War, "On the Floor" is about a “woman with a very particular talent who finds herself in a very unusual environment, which is a trading floor." Campbell describes her protagonist as "smarter than most of the guys around her, but she lets herself be controlled."

Campbell knows what it's like to work in that type of environment. She spent 13 years working for Morgan Stanley on the London trading floor. But, she says, the novel isn’t a memoir. "Although I was there and I know the world, I wanted to tell a bigger story about the time, the place, and about women and work."

In "On the Floor," Campbell describes what it’s like to be a woman in finance in the early '90s and foreshadows some of the major changes in the industry to come. She remembers how "the seeds of the crisis were sown back then. Attitudes towards risk, size, speed, all of the things that contributed to the carnage that we saw and felt later."

She says: "I started this book before the financial crisis and it always amazed me why more people weren't interested in what was going on -- it took a crisis for people to start paying attention."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...