Ruin is a thoroughly engrossing novel about a young couple’s struggle back from financial catastrophe that so many of us dread. Having fled their urban life, they begin to build a new life together in a rural setting, far from former friends and colleagues—only to have it fall apart all over again in ways that could never be predicted.
Frank Campbell, a thirty-something former founding owner of a high-flying New York City-based hedge fund, has gone bankrupt, losing not only all his own money but the entire inherited fortune of his artist wife, Francy. The couple take refuge in an abandoned Hudson Valley farm shared with a resident herd of congenial goats. Frank is deeply shaken by the life-changing loss that has so thoroughly ruined their life together.
Frank tries to build a new microbrewery business on a shoestring but is haunted by the memory of passages from literature he revered as an undergraduate at Yale before jumping into finance. For Francy, her altered circumstances, after a lifetime of privilege, have galvanized her work as an artist and she distances herself from her struggling husband.
In the midst of it all, Frank takes up fly fishing on the nearby river, aspiring to join the local fishing club. Tragedy ensues during a fishing contest, further framing Frank as a “loser loner” in life. Only when he turns to fly fishing in earnest, traveling the world in search of the ever more perfect and elusive trout (and one memorable carp), does he find his way forward in “the yowling madness” of the world.