When novelist Norb Vonnegut came to Greenwich to research his recent book "The Gods of Greenwich," about hedge fund moguls, he took a seat on a bench on Greenwich Avenue for a look around. His eye fell on the trash cans and he marveled at them. "They are dark green metal and have one side for garbage and one for recyclables," he thought to himself. They were unlike any he'd seen before. He then eyed the handsome light posts and surmised that Greenwich was "about the execution of perfection."
"The light posts," he said, "are like exclamation points to everything being perfect."
Vonnegut shared these impressions, recently, before a room full of 75 Greenwich Arts Council (GAC) supporters at the annual GAC Literary Lights luncheon benefit held at the home of Laura and Steve Cunningham.
Vonnegut, a fourth cousin of Kurt Vonnegut, lives in Narragansett, R.I., and is a former Wall Street stockbroker. His book, "The Gods of Greenwich," tells the story of the out-of-control roller coaster ride of a hedge funder and was a favorite of a number of guests.
"What a romp," is how GAC board member Jeanette Jackson described Vonnegut's book, "I never stopped laughing."
"Before this book," said Jackson, "We knew nothing of hedge funds. We had no idea of what goes on in this hedge fund world. This book opened our eyes to the language, the pulse and the rhythm."
Vonnegut, a born storyteller by heritage, from Charleston, S.C., was asked why he left Wall Street to write novels. "When I was on Wall Street it was very easy to tell little white lies," he said. "They sort of spiral and get out of control. I wanted to take it to the nth degree. The whole job [as a novelist] is to get folks to suspend disbelief."
The storyteller now had, he said, "the greatest job in the world."
Vonnegut arrived at Literary Lights having just finished what will be his third novel, "The Trust," due out in July, which he also talked about. It has to do, he said, with an "adult superstore" coming to "a town that has 54 churches that don't want the superstore."
"It's lighthearted. It's about hiding behind the First Amendment," he says.
Vonnegut also described how he'd at first kept his novel writing a secret from his wife.
"I went up to the attic," he said, "And my wife thought I was looking at Internet porn."
Finally she confronted him, the author says, with those "those five scariest of words . . . I have a confession to make."
She confessed to stealing his book, "Top Producer," on a travel drive.
"I found your book," she said. "I read it and I love it!"
She told a friend about it whose husband was a professor and one of his students had become a literary agent...
"And," Vonnegut says, "one thing led to another."