Luke Fellows is a forty-something recovering hedge fund manager. Born in London and educated at St. Paul’s School and Oxford University, he sacrificed his love of Classics for a Wall Street career, moving to New York City in 2000. After a sojourn at Harvard Business School, he made the leap to Silicon Valley, where, in 2008, he co-founded a technology-focused hedge fund, retiring as soon as his partners could practicably get rid of him. Despite his best efforts to escape the bubble, he still lives with his wife and three daughters near Palo Alto, CA. Snatch 2&20 is the first novel he is admitting to.
Learn more about Fellows on his website.
Your biggest literary influences:
Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Voltaire, Upton Sinclair, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk
Last book read:
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
The book that changed your life:
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. What can I say? It is simply brilliant and absolutely hilarious. Not only did its themes speak to me — the pointlessness of war, the power of systems that seem to live and breathe independently of the rationale that created them, the mixed motives of almost all human action — but it managed to find the humor in it all. In that sense, I found it deeply uplifting. If you can’t laugh at the blatant hypocrisy and paradoxes of everything around us, you have to cry. And I hate to cry. Snatch 2&20 couldn’t exist as a parody of the morally bankrupt financial system of our own day, without the appropriately noted homage to Catch-22 in its title. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is a close second.
Your favorite literary character:
It’s a close call between Capt. John Yossarian in Catch-22 and Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. I think I love them both because they fly in the face of conventional thinking of what the main character of a novel should be. I don’t see them as heroes or antiheroes. They are somewhere in between and, in my mind, are much better for it, as they resemble real humans, deeply flawed like the rest of us, but with many redeeming qualities that are teased out as the stories develop. It’s no coincidence that Giles Goodenough, the main protagonist and narrator in Snatch 2&20, shares many of their traits: loyal and loving at times, cynical and self-interested at others, idealistic and courageous on some dimensions, cowardly and facetious on others. They are all as paradoxical as the situations they find themselves in.
Currently working on:
Finding some readers. Working out which hypocrites and frauds make fun of next.
Words to live by:
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Advice for aspiring authors:
Don’t listen to any advice from anyone, least of all this advice.
REVIEWS OF SNATCH 2&20
“Readers are drawn into the drama, psychology and business challenges of Wall Street. … A fun and pointed read that crosses genres in juxtaposing mystery, moral inspection, psychological growth and danger into its story. Complex, witty, dramatic, thought-provoking, … engrossing, unexpected, and hard to put down, even as it’s difficult to easily categorize.”
—Midwest Book Review
I don’t care what your usual genre is, do yourself a favor and read this book.
“If Necessity is the mother of invention, then shame is the mother of delusion.”
It is such a cliche, but the only reason I’m giving this book 5 stars is because I can’t give it 6. I agreed to review this book as a request. When I read the synopsis, I was not thrilled. I don’t know, or care, anything about Wall Street and stock traders. I couldn’t imagine that there was any way to portray the adventures of such a person in a way that I could stay conscious for more than a few chapters. Snatch 2&20 absolutely shattered that expectation.
Holy smoke! This is a fantastic story that embodies the same irreverence as the original M*A*S*H. I don’t know anything about high finance and the stock market, so I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with what was happening. I still don’t understand “trading,” but Fellows manages to explain just enough to make me think I understand what is happening in the book. Basically it all seems to be a magic act. (Illusion.) The comical and irreverent way the author takes us on this journey makes it a lot of fun.
—Guy Wheatley, Amazon Reviewer, 5.0 out of 5 stars
More Crisp Than a $100 Bill
Fellows [writes] a fictional, but believable, account of life above the trading floor of Wall Street.
This narrative is a very engaging and entertaining read as told by a hedge fund manager employed by an investment firm. The well-developed character, Giles Goodenough, is stereotypically portrayed as bordering on the edge of being a sleazy personality who is concerned about himself and has honed his craft of investing for his clients [in ways] that would rival the most productive con-man.
He readily admits he is no saint, but has redeeming features over his cohorts.
His mantra and philosophy of life appear to be: get the most out of life by giving the least back.
His story begins from a hospital bed and room where the doctor has proclaimed his being fortunate on being alive. The story getting him to that point in his physical recovery unfolds as the story twists and turns through the corridors of investigating a shadowy company and being imbedded into management, rubbing elbows with the financial elite and coming precariously close to white-collar crime.
Added to the enhancement of the plot is a well-written and witty portrayal of a hero who is clever, sarcastic and real as he ponders his own life and observes the lives of others. The novel pulls back the financial veil of what may or may not happen inside the offices and boardrooms of those pledging to care for investors and investments.
Snatch 2&20 … is a quality read and will most probably engage the reader’s imagination and amusement as it follows a character who still has some semblance of conscience in the business world. A business world that is after the financial resources of others.
Additionally, the narrative is replete with suggestive advances towards others, politically incorrect expressions and blatant sexual harassment as the author provides a full-throated reveal of what may take place in the world of high finance and capitalism.
—Brian Aird, Amazon Reviewer, 5.0 out of 5 stars
Don’t Sell This Book Short
Sort of in spite of myself I liked, and then really liked, this book. At first I mostly just enjoyed the sharp, snarky humor, but then I actually warmed up to our hero Giles and even became invested in the plot. Sure, the hero starts out as nothing special. He is crafted along the lines of a slacker trust-fundy con man who’s floating along luxuriating in and flaunting his unreliability and lack of focus. Proud of his shallowness and crass misogyny. Been there, read that. Along the same lines, the plot is nothing special. Our hero Giles is placed with a master of the universe billionaire type for the purpose of gathering insider info to be used and misused by Gile’s financial taskmaster. None of this seemed very promising. It felt like I Can Get It For You Wholesale meets The Great Gatsby, but without the grit, heart, depth, desperation or despair.
But get this. Somewhere along the way, the author found a character who was worth writing about. Giles is still snarky and disconnected, but he shows us flashes of decency and integrity and maturity that get us interested in how he will navigate the bizarre world in which he finds himself. Is this slow build on purpose, or did our debut author just need some time to find his writerly chops? I don’t know, but as a reader I was delighted I stayed for the second and third acts.
I probably stayed, at first, because the book is loaded with fascinating and wildly amusing rants, riffs, drunken insider tips and “financial elite” takedowns that are smart, pointed, vicious and edgy. I was more than happy to suffer through some awkward plotting and to keep company with a main character who started out as basically a dick, just to come across all of these nutzy and withering bits, which are very generously sprinkled all through the book. Join Giles at his desk, at a tech conference, giving us his low down on fund allocators, or in conference with insane tech showmen and billionaires. Sympathize with Giles and his fellow laborers over drinks and despair. Consider this the only workplace dramedy in which all of the workers are holding out for million-dollar bonuses. Find out what the title means.
Bottom line, at a minimum, if you’re willing to start out with a smarmy slacker in order to be allowed access to his universe, and if you’re willing to buy him drinks just to hear his hilarious stories, and if you want to learn more about the sleazy, greedy buffoons who are making and keeping all of the money these days, then this is an excellent and entertaining find.
—Pop Bop, Top 50 Amazon reviewer, 4.0 out of 5 stars