Nov 15 2010

The Untouchable

Published by at 12:41 pm under Books

by John Banville

A story written as if it were an autobiography of a highly placed, but recently ‘outed’ spy in the England. Clearly, a fictional life of the real Anthony Blunt who was the Queens Art historian and one of the ‘Cambridge Five’; a group of highly placed, Russian spies. The book portrays the background and cultural environment from which the spy evolved and how his life progressed. England and Ireland in from the 20s to the 40s is the main backdrop. Not much in the way of spy craft or intrigue, but interesting as a snapshot of a far away time and place as well as the manner in which a privileged person could come to ‘betray’ the source of his privilege and what he might have thought he was achieving. It was easy to think it was authoritative rather than an imagined autobiography.
An undercurrent portrays a gut based dislike for supposedly class unconscious and democratic US culture as one of the rationales for spying on behalf of the Russians. That logic is a bit hard to follow. Anyway, it was a very good read.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.