Dear Mr Kenny
I am writing to return the manuscript of your novel, the Life and Adventures of Mr SK, and to decline publication.
While novels about individuals in the financial sector may have had some buzz about them at the worst of the crisis, the impact is likely to be much less now that economic life is returning to an even keel. Banker bashing is getting a little old, frankly.
There is also the point that it is notoriously hard to get across complex financial activities in fictional form. Admittedly, your manuscript avoids these pitfalls, but at the expense of coming across as a crude, Marxist caricature. There is more to the motivation of any truly satisfying literary character than “because I can”, “because I want to” “because I like it” and “because it gets me more power and money”.
Take the centrepiece of your novel in which a hotel maid is allegedly brutally sodomised by Mr SK in a luxury hotel room before he flies off to a meeting of world leaders in Washington. Do you really expect me or any reader to believe that this is remotely plausible behaviour on the part of men with responsible positions in public life?
The ending to your novel is also unsatisfactory. Mr SK is arrested for his alleged crime but there is no sense of justice being done. He simply waits, on bail, amid the general expectation that he may get away with it. This may work in a novel about China or Russia or one of those places, but surely not in a book based in countries with robust and effective democratic institutions in which no one could have any doubt what the outcome of such a crime would be.
I have to say that I have met some of the people who you seem to hold in such contempt and they are nothing like the subjects of your caricature. In my experience, they are highly educated, thoughtful individuals who devote much of their all too scarce spare time to many varieties of social and charitable enterprise. In fact, I suggest that you might go so far as to imitate them. Complain a little less and volunteer a little more.
To conclude, a work of genuine literature combines a subtle, complex imagination with genuine verisimilitude. Your story offers neither of these things. Whatever it is, it is not a work of fiction.