Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings

This book made me think.  About choices, and their consequences.

Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings

‘He had forgotten to remember.’

Cath takes a job as a speechwriter on Wall Street.  She’s not there by choice: she’s there because she needs to earn money to try to look after her husband, Bailey, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  So, Cath’s world now encompasses two nightmares.  She is working in the bizarre world of high finance where reality is a foreign country, and living in the sad world of reality where her husband Bailey becomes a foreigner.  How can Cath survive?  Both nightmares contain moral hazards for Cath: how can she be true to herself, and take the best care of Bailey?  How can she negotiate the outcomes she can live with?

In fewer than two hundred pages, Ms Jennings covers the slippery moral ground of high finance, where the expected ends always justify the means, and the heartbreaking reality of living with a loved one with Alzheimer’s.  What is right, and what is moral?   What choices does Cath have? How can she survive?

I found this novel intensely thought provoking, and well worth reading.  Not so much the high finance side: I have low expectations of morality there, and am highly cynical.  But as I grow older, and more aware of the impact of Alzheimer’s I think more about the options available.  If I was Cath, what would I do?

I understand that this novel is in part autobiographical:  Ms Jennings did spend some time working as a speech writer on Wall Street, and her husband died as a consequence of complications of Alzheimer’s in 1999.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith