Review of ‘No Tears: Tales from the Square Mile’ by David Charters

A collection of nastily compelling stories set in the ruthless world of financial traders in the City of London, also known as the square mile. I rescued the book from the bargain shelf of a charity shop, liking the idea of paying 50 pence to read about millionaire bankers. By a strange coincidence, the day that I began reading it, the UK government announced that the cap on bankers’ bonuses would be scrapped.

Book cover of No Tears, showing tower block.

The stories are about the employees of a bank, Barton’s: ambitious young men who wear braces and shout into phones, the gorgeous secretaries who are hired as eye candy, the cunning directors who are either on fabulous holidays or gleefully firing people. The stories presumably take place in the late 90s or turn of the millennium. Dealing with greed, power and sexism, the writing manages to be incisive and witty, bordering on cruel. No one is nice in this book. You don’t get to be a top trader in the City by being nice. I’m still not entirely sure whether the stories are completely fiction, or non-fiction moulded into fiction, because the blurb describes them as ‘absolutely authentic’. I think it means that the author, who was high-profile in the finance world, had experienced what he was writing about. Some of the stories could be real, while others seem a bit far-fetched. One, which turns out to be a dream, is reminiscent of Monty Python’s The Crimson Permanent Assurance.

If you’re looking for fiction about British financial trading, investment banking, etc (unlikely perhaps) then this is the book for you. If you happen to find it in a charity shop, I would recommend you give it a try.

Published by Elliott & Thompson, 2002.


Have you subscribed to my FREE newsletters yet? Check them out here – N S Ford Writer and The Indie Books & Authors Newsletter.

Leave a Reply