Tension, bursts of action, complex attempts at the sorting of truth from lies and the inevitable resulting grays, questions about identity and the choices we make: classic Steinhauer really. Certainly made me want to read the full length novel but whether it is worth less than a dollar is up to you.
An interesting glimpse into the culture and issue of the time. Tracing a character from comic strip to movie to novels over the course of decades. The novel Modesty Blaise (1965) was O’Donnell’s novelization of his (mostly ignored) screenplay for Joseph Losey’s 1966 film of the same name. The warm critical and popular response to Modesty in novel form led to a long-running series. Modesty rarely engaged in Cold War themes, but in The Impossible Virgin she does.
The spymaster-as-hero is gone, replaced by the whistle-blower, the outsider who retains enough of his heart to be appalled by the slaughter of strays. In Cairo they’re the young trash collectors living on the city’s edge, but in Gibraltar they’re even more insignificant: one mother and her child, around whom the whole novel rotates, and for whom le Carre’s rage simmers. By the end of A Delicate Truth, you either share his anger at the injustices between its covers, or you don’t. If you do, then you’re one of le Carre’s people. If not, you’re one of Smiley’s. It’s up to you to decide which one is more worthy.
Great timing for this weeks Coffee & Markets podcast. Pejman Yousefzadeh and I were joined by one of my favorite authors, Olen Steinhauer. We discussed his just released novel An American Spy, the post-Cold War and post 9/11 spy novel, and his career as a writer while living outside the United States. Listen …