This was one of the more fascinating spy novels I have read in some time. A "legend" is a covert agent's back story and the book's main character has more than one incredibly layered and convincing persona. Indeed one of them is compelling enough on its own to warrant reading the novel. The plot takes place largely in the 90's and involves Cold War, oligarch and militant Muslim threats. With many such tales it also illuminates and calls out the clashes that take place between rival intelligence agencies.
Sewn throughout are interesting observations and insights:
"intelligence services are fatally flawed. They're self-tasking - they define the threats and… Read more
The first question you need to ask yourself is why are you reading this review? Is it because you are reading all reviews to gain a holistic, qualitative view or was my review the most recent posted or did it's title intrigue or all of the above? One of the least fair questions ever posed is, how do you make a decision? The tangled factors that go through our brains when buying a can of beans or deciding to marry or wrestling with a theory are of head scratching complexity.
Perhaps I should share why I read this book. I am speaking on critical thinking and the speed of decision-making at the Canadian Marketing Association's national convention. I was looking for cool source… Read more
Having read Carol Sklenica's Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life and Blake Bailey's Cheever, I was intrigued by Laing's premise. Both biographers tell the story of how Carver and Cheever's lives briefly intersected at a writer's conference. That time together was literally fuelled by their mutual appreciation of a drink. I am fascinated by these two especially Cheever so I most enjoyed The Trip to Echo Spring when they are featured. Less so was I drawn in by the other writers and I must admit I skipped over the author's references to her own life and travels.
To be fair, Laing does a fine job cataloguing the physical and mental impacts of drinking. Rightfully, there is emphasis on… Read more