Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Ghost by Robert Harris

I've never read a book by John le Carre. Despite my effusive praise for the Baldacci novels, I'm just not all that into guy spy novels. and I've always firmly put Robert Harris into that category. I read his book Fatherland which is about the alternate reality of what might have been if Hitler had won the war. Joseph Kennedy, the father of JFK, is president and we all speak German. This book seriously freaked me out.

When the local book store held a signing with Robert Harris I gave it a miss.

But then someone I know told me that Harris felt this was his favourite novel of all the ones he'd written. And that she loved it. I trust her recommendations so I decided to give it a go.

Now I'm thinking I'm going to have to read more Robert Harris.

The Ghost is about a writer who writes autobiographies for intellectually challenged sports stars and celebrities trying to wring the last out of the shine out of their star and into their bank account. These ghost writers are considered to be much more intelligent than their subjects and are considered to be the laughing stock of the literary world.

So it's a bit of a surprise when The Ghost is hired to finish writing the autobiography of Adam Lang after the original writer, Mike McAra, allegedly commits suicide. Lang is the politician of his time and as his influence fades he is desperate to tell his story but he's more style than substance. And the draft McAra has left behind is a disaster, so badly written that the only option is to start over.

I loaned this book to my mother when she needed something to replace her Baldacci debacle. She took it to France and never put it down. We had to pry it out of her fingers when we went to Disneyland. I'm afraid I had much the same reaction. Luckily, it's not long or verbose so I managed it in just 2 days.

The book does take so many twists and turns that I lost my way a couple of times and had to go back a few pages....I even reread an entire chapter. And just when you think it's all over and the mystery is revealed the ending wallops you up side the end and you realise you didn't have anything figured out. Genius!


Sue said...

This sounds like something I would like. Lots of twists. Some of my favorite tv viewing are the Law & Order shows. Your first guess is never right.

My 12-year old grandaughter, Kendra, would like you to comment on a story she is writing. She has a link on One Square Mile and then another link to the book.

Good luck to Sebastian.

Anonymous said...

Call me thick but what was the twist in the end?