A tip-off from @nosnilwar, one of my two reading gurus, put me onto Red Plenty, and indeed, on to Francis Spufford. For personal reasons, I've been reading a lot of economics over the past two years, partly for family reasons, partly because it is a significant preoccupation of our time. My consumption has ranged from the acerbic observations of Stiglitz on the greed of bankers to the doleful prognostications of Krugman on macroeconomic failure. In this tale of woe, Red Plenty stands out like a beacon. This is a fairytale about economics, a narrative approach to politics which conceals fabulous scholarship, wit and wisdom. Red Plenty is an account of political economy which, despite the blood stains and shattered lives, will still put a smile on your face.
Yuri Gagarin’s daughter answers the phone. ‘No, mummy and daddy are out,’ she says. ‘Daddy’s orbiting the earth, and he’ll be back tonight at 7 o’clock. But mummy’s gone shopping for groceries, so who knows when she’ll be home.’
This is not a book about economics. It is a moral tale everyone should read.