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the subprimes

Book Review: The rise of the Subprimes

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The hard-knocks imagery in the opening pages of The Subprimes (Harper; May 12, 2015) is riveting. Homeless people, tucked into ragged sleeping bags, are camped out under a “crumbling freeway, so dilapidated and overdue for resurfacing you could glimpse through the cracks the sooty undercarriages of cars passing overhead.” Above that freeway is “an elevated skyway, one of the new toll roads that whisked the wealthy from mansions to airports.” The once-blue sky above is stained with thick, brown smog. The bleak American tale that Triburbia author Karl Taro Greenfeld tells in his richly imagined and devastatingly dark new novel addresses income inequality and the ever-widening wealth gap. Today, defenders of the gap view America’s richest 1 percent as job…

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