Saturday, March 30, 2024

Five novels of generational wealth & income inequality

Glenn R. Miller launched his professional career by working on television soap operas and game shows on the back lots of NBC Burbank. He holds a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and has served as a CBS-affiliate news producer, public television producer, and creative director at production agencies within the Twin Cities. He and his wife live in Minneapolis and are the parents of two grown sons.

Miller's new novel is Doorman Wanted.

At Lit Hub he tagged five old and new titles which thoughtfully explore generational wealth and income inequality, including:
Jenny Jackson, Pineapple Street

Often accompanying extreme wealth are privilege and entitlement, two qualities that may or may not be worn comfortably by the wearer. In Pineapple Street, author Jenny Jackson’s delightful debut novel, those qualities are approached from different angles by three members of the Stocktons, an old money family from Brooklyn Heights.

Not unlike Sweeney’s The Nest, Jackson’s characters affectionately refer to the source of their wealth as “the limestone.” When an object or concept occupies so much of one’s thoughts and energy, it often deserves a name. The source of wealth in Pineapple Street stems from the New York City real estate game, an occupation that Americans, for better or worse, have learned a great deal about in recent years.

The story centers around the idealistic and prenuptial-spurning daughter, Darley, and the somewhat naïve youngest daughter, Georgiana. Those are two of the privileges of extreme wealth: aggressive idealism and oblivious naivete. The rich are, indeed, different from you and me.

An inheritance, whether in hand or impending, is oftentimes distorting, in both one’s outlook on the world as well as the world’s regard of that person. Accomplishments can be diminished because of status and entitlement; introspection can become navel-gazing; and opportunities for growth, education, and travel can be resented by others. But in these days of extreme wealth and a gilded-age redux, woe to the fictional character who seeks sympathy or is presented as heroic. In the case of the former, we’re not in the mood; in the latter, those days are behind us.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue