Bartosz Szafran


John Lynch is certainly aware of business, the nuances of the financial world and economic dependencies. He has spent most of his life building capitalism in Poland. Does he have a talent for writing? The answer to this question is not easy, just as the evaluation of his debut ‘The Ark’ is not easy or unequivocal as the evaluation of the debut ‘The Ark’.

I have mixed feelings while reading ‘The Ark’ – after the initial interest in the book, which has been advertised as an economic thriller, a sense of weariness with the unnecessarily long introduction to the main story told by Lynch. I was about to put the unfinished book on the shelf, which happens to me very rarely, when something has commenced to happen in the book, something that can be described as a sensational intrigue.

The book doesn’t take on the character of a thriller at a single moment, but about halfway through, something happens. There is action, there are good and bad characters clashing with each other, there is intrigues and subterfuges, people with direct coercive measures enter the stage, even at the end we have wounded and killed. And this part of ‘The Ark’ reads much better, although it is still not a purebred thriller which is unputdownable. However, the reading is much easier and more pleasant. The ending is quite predictable, although the author introduces some surprising elements. This book would be definitely better if the first half has been reduced to 10 pages.

I am a classic financial layperson, so it is difficult for me to determine how much of Lynch’s story is colourable and how much is out of touch with reality. But if the events described in ‘The Ark’ could have happened, and even do happen, then the volatility of the financial markets, the great economic crises that sweep through the world every few years cease to be surprising. In this world decency, solidarity, and honesty are definitely unpopular, and people who try to act ethically quickly end up bankrupt. So, I don’t regret that my professional path is far from the universe described by Lynch, that I don’t turn over millions of dollars and don’t own a private jet and my own island in the Pacific. Better to be more modest, but more normal.

Lynch’s workshop is not bad, but it needs a lot of perfecting, you can see that these are his first steps in literature. A little bit worse is the development of characters. They are very one-sided and schematic, the baddies don’t have any human traits and not bad guys are almost flawless. Such one-sided character building is quite typical for those starting out in a literary career, especially late and in addition to a proper profession and education.

I do not think that ‘The Ark’ will become a bestseller and its author, Lynch, a top one on the international publishing market. I don’t deny the author’s writing talent, but he still needs to work on his craft. And remember that a wide audience doesn’t know much about the intricacies of the world of great finance and doesn’t necessarily want to learn them.