daniel silva's spy story, audrey's whodunit, and more
in trying to find professor batty's e-dress (see his icelandic comments in previous blogs) so that i could tell him i continue to write about him, i came across his review of an art show in minnesota with this line:
i thought it pretty tacky for the photography judge, Sean Smuda, to showcase his own work (WTF?) in the prime location in the gallery
it reminds me to tell you, my blog readers, that although i am editor of turning leaves, and the anthology does contain three of my short pieces, i am not suspect as is the photography judge above. the reason is that i carefully chose three creative non-fiction stories that had already been accepted and published by other editors as my contribution to the book. that is, i did not use my position to further my own literary ambitions!! it is tacky to do so. remember to order your non-tacky copies from amazon.com or barnes&noble.com
speaking of literary ambitions, eloquent tattoo is now in the hands of anaphora literary press. time to start thinking of the cover. any ideas? i know you haven't red the novel, but any ideas in general? any do's or don'ts? what about colors that sell? i'm happy to hear from any and all.
the novel i am going to discuss today differs from any book i've talked about before. it is daniel silva's portrait of a spy. as far as i can remember i have not discussed spy novels in this blog. i seldom read them. oh, i read a few james bond novels, then i was quite taken with the anti-bond novels of le carre. the oxford companion points out that 'women excelled in crime writing throughout the twentieth century, men very largely monopolized the spy novel. to a lesser extent this gender distinction is reflected in the readership of the two kinds.' that makes me as typical as i can be.
other obvious differences are the amount of action, which usually plays a larger part in spy novels than detective stories and in the amount of humor, which seldom makes it way into spy stories and often is the lynch pin of a detective story, or of a sub-genre of detective stories.
this brings me back to portrait of a spy. for those of you who have read previous books in the series, it is not news that gabriel allon is an israeli anti-terrorist and art restorer, famous in both careers, also handsome and brave and married to a beautiful italian woman.
one criticism of this novel is that silva repeats descriptions of characters and occupations from previous novels. i haven't read the previous novels and i sure needed to be told who was who. this is a problem in a series that each series author has to deal with. i'm afraid i haven't told enough about professor mary beth goldberg's history or tony bartlett's either in the eloquent tattoo, the third in my eloquent murder mystery series. when it comes out, let me know.
for me, everyone was fresh and interesting in portrait of a spy. the story is surely timely. it has thinly veiled contemporary political figures in the u,s., composite ones in the arab world, and a few fictive personalities. no surprises in the story, no real challenges to the reader, but it is deftly woven, and i recommend it.
harper collins is the publisher of this 448 page quick read.