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An Ordinary Spy: A Novel

par Joseph Weisberg

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975210,091 (3.21)1
Written in the style of a CIA-censored intelligence report, a tale of two embattled spies follows their extraordinary efforts to protect their informants and traces new agent Mart Ruttenberg's investigation into a former operative's suspicious termination.

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5 sur 5
This is a rather slow thriller. The author tried to tart it up as being from the CIA files by having parts of the text redacted. That starts out cute, but gets to be annoying. ( )
  dougcornelius | Jan 8, 2010 |
http://lampbane.livejournal.com/501418.html

"It's not a terribly exciting book, but it's simple enough, and the problems the protagonists have (caring about the wrong people) are relatable. Also? The whole thing with Valerie Plame makes a lot more sense, since the book definitely gave me a better picture of what CIA officers do. [...]

The book bills itself as being realistic, because it's written by a former CIA officer, and the narrator is a former CIA officer writing his memoir. So there's this weird nesting thing going on, because the fictional author had to submit his manuscript to the CIA for approval, and the real author had to do the same as well. As part of the illusion of the fictional author parts of the novel have been blacked out by the CIA because they revealed too much information about operations or countries. It's really weird, because a lot of the pages will have sentences like, "I went to the _____ with ______ and then we were stopped at ______ because the ______ thought that ______ and usually ________." In some cases it's minor, like they blank out names of streets or characters or ethnic descriptions, and you just have to roll with the story (and try to figure out where they are based on other clues, like weather). It's a bit like a cloze test. You just have to use context to figure out what's going on, and be willing to accept that you're not meant to understand certain parts and be willing to toss them out." ( )
  lampbane | Jun 11, 2009 |
If we view An Ordinary Spy as a classic spy story, it is too choppy, too unresolved, and falls short. If we view it as a novel exploring Mark Ruttenberg’s struggle with right and wrong, and how to live a meaningful life, the redacted chunks don’t matter. So the book is not so much an entertaining story, as a meaningful read.

My complete review is on my Blog, Nate's Library, specifically at: http://nates-library.blogspot.com/2008/02/joseph-weisberg-ordinary-spy.html ( )
  nbradle2 | Oct 25, 2008 |
It is a down-to-earth spy story, like those of Le Carre or even more so, which is great. It never really takes off, however, and the censorship gimmick (large parts of the text were censored out by the author himself and by the CIA) gets old and frustrating. ( )
  jorgearanda | Jun 10, 2008 |
This is the first book I read after spending 6 weeks reading only Walden. I thought it was amazing for about the first 80 pages; then I realized that my enthusiasm was due in part to my relief at reading something other than Walden. After another 100 pages or so, I felt that all spy novels are about the same thing: the psychology, necessity (or not), practice, and morality of deception. This is an engaging exploration of that theme, although the postscript is not convincing. ( )
  otterpopmusic | Mar 9, 2008 |
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Written in the style of a CIA-censored intelligence report, a tale of two embattled spies follows their extraordinary efforts to protect their informants and traces new agent Mart Ruttenberg's investigation into a former operative's suspicious termination.

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