Man in Armour Paperback – 5 August 2020
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- Publisher : 4th Estate AU (5 August 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1460758773
- ISBN-13 : 978-1460758779
- Dimensions : 15.3 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 49,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
Siobhan McKenna is chairman or director of several companies including Foxtel, Nova Entertainment, Woolworths and Illyria. During her career she has worked in telecommunications, oil and gas, healthcare and government. She was a commissioner of the Australian Productivity Commission, a chairman of NBNCo and a partner of McKinsey & Company. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three teenage sons. Man in Armour is her first novel.
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The names of the companies are an instant turnoff. Mining Co, Oil Co, Food Co, Meat Co, Trains & Tracks, Logistics Co, TelcoTalk, etc.
The characters are little better, and there are more than a hundred (a Grisham novel typically has between 50 and 60). Worse, they seem to appear as and when needed. For instance, ‘Helping David. Helping bloody David. So Keith had attended last month’s TelcoTalk meeting alone.’ I immediately backtracked as I couldn’t recall Keith … no wonder this was his first appearance. The author has a propensity to create characters as they’re needed.
Then there are the character’s names. Grey Grooved Host, Peter Pinstriped, The Grocer, The Two-Bit-Miner, The Stone Subjugator, The Cravat, Toad of Toad Wall, The Grizzly, Lanky legal, The Signet Ring director, etc. I am a prolific reader of business novels and have never read anything like this before.
Man in Armour is the title, but I never expected metaphorical armour descriptions throughout the novel.
The main character is pathetically weak, best illustrated when he attends a board meeting and recognizes someone from his past, and goes into meltdown.
More generally, shoulder is one of the author’s favorite words, but its use is inappropriate in some instances. ‘Simon shouldered into Charles’s office.’ Naomi became Noami. ‘The meeting wrapped as usual by each of them indicating …’ ‘Needs must when women work, I suppose.’ These are editing oversights and are not problematic as it is rare to read an error-free novel.
I usually finish a novel in one night. Man in Armour was slow, and I struggled to read it over four nights. It was disappointing. For those into business books, I recommend Michael Lewis’s Liars Poker, and The Money Culture, Greg Smith’s Why I Left Goldman Sachs, and virtually anything by John Grisham or Scott Turow.
I warmed to the main character as it progressed and as his more personal back story is revealed. The writing is precise and clever and makes for an exciting read. Can't wait for the next one!