Ravi Subramaniam’s latest book has three different plots that tell us about the strange happenings in the life of a set of retail bankers in Greater Boston Global Bank. The uneasy calm in GB2 is shattered when a series of murders rock the facade of the compliant and conforming bank that GB2 has built up over the years. Who is to be blamed? Who is driving these intriguing and bone chilling murders? What is the motive behind these gruesome killings? No one has a clue. In the racy build up to unravelling of the ‘who-done-it’ plot, stranger than fiction characters emerge, faith gets shattered and ivory towers come crashing down.
In an exclusive interview with City Express, Ravi Subramaniam talks about his new book and the experience of being a writer and a banker. Banking and writing are poles apart. When asked about his approach to both, he said, “The best way to crack them both is to merge them into one and that’s what I have done with my writing. I have seamlessly integrated corporate life, banking and writing into my work of fiction. All my books so far have been based on the former two, leading to Wall Street Journal referring to me as the Grisham of Banking — a recognition of the fact that corporate thrillers in themselves have become an interesting genre and the fact that I have played a pivotal role in writing in this space.”
Said Ravi, “This story is extremely relevant in the modern day context where large global banks, placed on the pedestal have been crashing to unimaginable depths from untouchable heights, one after the other and with amazing regularity almost always on the account of the same reasons like greed, ambition and lust for money and power. Soon, the modern day banker metamorphoses himself into The Bankster.”
Author Ravi Subramanian has four best sellers to his credit — If God was a Banker (2007), I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari (2007), Devil in Pinstripes (2009) and The Incredible Banker (2011). Recognition in the form of the Economist Crossword Book Award for The Incredible Banker and the Golden Quill Award for If God Was A Banker has placed his name among some of the most sought after young writers of this country. The Bankster, is his fifth book and he describes it as the first of its kind international corporate thriller, which evolves in the backdrop of a multinational bank and its Indian operations.
Being an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, he accepted the fact that often protagonists in his books are high flying corporate executives who are MBA graduates from premiere institutes. Being a banker himself, Ravi’s novels always have a backdrop pertaining to the banking sector. Said Ravi, “It is intentional. Banking today is full of crime, money, relationships, sleaze, fraud and investigations. One will find all the ingredients of a fabulous pot boiler. It really surprises me as to why no one has explored the financial services world in the world of fiction. There is a big gap in this space. And the market has shown that they would love to read fiction set in this industry.
Why should one give up a space that one has successfully created and occupied in this crowded industry? Hence my writing in this space is pretty much intentional. The day I feel that I am getting repetitive or that I don’t have anything new to give the audience, I will explore new segments.”
Like many writers even his books have replicas from real life. “Every writer is inspired by what he sees around him. To that extent there are various parts of the book which have been inspired by various things I have seen, heard and experienced over the years of working in this industry.
But the challenge is how you convert the 10 per cent of inspiration using 90 per cent creativity, into a fabulous story which keeps the reader enthused over his 360 page journey,” says Ravi.
When we ask him about the most interesting part of being a banker and a writer at the same time, he smiles and says, “The most interesting part of being a banker and a writer is that your work place might just give you the fodder for the next book.”