Andrew Lipstein’s second novel is at once bracingly contemporary and deeply strange. Poised at the intersection of tech, finance, ethics, and a natural world in crisis, it follows a hedge fund manager named Herschel Caine who is about to render the rest of Wall Street obsolete thanks to an infallible algorithm. The plan goes awry in the horrifying aftermath of a small act of interpersonal sabotage on Herschel’s part, causing our narrator to compulsively purify himself through overidentification with animals, late-night rambles to the zoo, and, yes, the adoption of a vegan lifestyle that wreaks havoc on his power lunches. Propelled by Herschel’s American Psycho meets moral philosophy internal monologue—and a biting sense of humor—The Vegan channels the queasy paranoia of an era when the fear of human extinction via machine learning can make even masters of the universe feel like trapped animals. —Judy Berman

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