Ways and Means
by Daniel Lefferts ’19
Published by Abrams/Overlook (2022)
Alistair McCabe comes to New York with a plan. Young, handsome, intelligent, and gay, he hopes to escape his Rust Belt poverty and give his mother a better life by pursuing a career in high finance. But by the spring of 2016, Alistair’s plan has come undone: His fantasy banking job has eluded him, he’s mired in student debt, and in his desperation he’s gone to work for an enigmatic billionaire whose ambitions turn out to be far darker than Alistair could have imagined. By the time Alistair uncovers his employer’s secret, his life is in danger and he’s forced to go on the run.
Meanwhile, Alistair’s paramours, an older couple named Mark and Elijah, must face their own moral and financial dilemmas. Mark, nearing the end of his trust fund, takes a job with his father’s mobile-home empire that forces him to confront the unsavory foundations of his family’s wealth, while Elijah, a failed painter, throws in his lot with an artist-provocateur whose latest project transforms the country’s political chaos into a thing of alluring, amoral beauty. As the nation hurtles toward a breaking point, Alistair, Mark, and Elijah must band together to save one another and themselves.
Propulsive, exuberant, and profoundly observed, Ways and Means is an indelible, clear-eyed investigation of class and ambition, sex and art, and politics and power in twenty-first century America.