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The Little Drummer Girl

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Ecedented worldwide acclaimIn this thrilling and thought provoking novel of Middle Eastern intrigue Charlie a brilliant and beautiful young English actress is lured into the theat. An amazing novel

SUMMARY Â SOFYNE.CO.UK ´ John le Carré

John le Carre's classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge and have earned him unpr. ”What would it

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Re of the real by an Israeli intelligence officer Forced to play her ultimate role she is plunged into a deceptive and delicate trap set to ensnare an elusive Palestinian terroris. I found this nove


10 thoughts on “The Little Drummer Girl

  1. says:

    ”What would it be like really and absolutely to believe? To know really and absolutely know that there's a Divine Being not set in time or space who reads your thoughts better than you ever did and probably before you even have them? To believe that God sends you to war God bends the path of bullets decides which of his children will die or have their legs blown off or make a few hundred million on Wall Street depending on today's Grand Design?” Joseph proved to be than just a fan with flowersCharlie is an English actress who has been reasonably successful on the stage and is one good role away from becoming an established actress when she meets a man on a beach in Greece He isn’t like any other man she has ever met before He has scars unusual scars scars that denote the violence that has been done to him and because he was still alive she could assume that he had perpetrated violence effectively against his enemies ’That Joseph was Jewish she had not doubted since her abortive interrogation of him on the beach But Israel was a confused abstraction to her engaging both her protectiveness and her hostility She had never supposed for one second that it would ever get up and come to face her in the flesh”Charlie’s head is full of half formed radical left wing ideas about politics and social issues She is promiscuous always needing a man in her bed and pretty enough to never have to look far for candidates She thinks she understands what men want but Joseph is an enigma who runs hot and cold He keeps her emotions rising and falling like a stock market beset by outside forces beyond her understanding He wants than sex from her He wants her life Joseph is an Israeli spy and his job is to reel Charlie in for his boss Martin Kurtz Martin is known by many names He keeps several identities carefully separated in different files in his mind He is a sword for the cause of Israel He will use anyone or anything to protect his country He has hand selected Charlie for a very specific task ”You are definitely bastards Wouldn’t you say so?” She was still looking at her skirt really interested in the way it filled and turned “And you are the biggest bastard of them all actually aren’t you? Because you are the biggest bastard of them all actually aren’t you? Because you get it both ways One minute our bleeding heart the next our red toothed warrior Whereas all you really are when it comes down to it is a bloodthirsty landgrabbing little Jew” Notorious with Ingrid Bergman and Cary GrantThe relationship between Joseph and Charlie reminded me strongly of the Alfred Hitchcock movie from 1946 Notoriouswhich is one of my favorite Hitchcock films T R Devlin Cary Grant plays a government agent who is tasked with recruiting Alicia Huberman Ingrid Bergman to infiltrate a Nazi organization Alicia falls in love with Devlin and he with her but the job takes precedence over any personal feelings he might have for her He has difficulties fully trusting her very evident feelings for him because of her promiscuous past and he certainly doesn’t trust his own feelings for her either There are some poignant scenes with rich weighted dialogue where if either one would be completely honest with the other the personal would override the professional charade of their relationship Alicia wants to be saved but she also wants to please Devlin by doing what he wants Joseph and Charlie find themselves in a very similar circumstances Joseph would betray his country by saving her and Charlie would disappoint Joseph by refusing to go forward They interrogate Charlie breaking down her past her beliefs and her personality to better weave her own life with the fabricated life they want her to assume John Le Carre’s writing is simply brilliant in these scenes It is painful to see Charlie having to face the reality of her own life and then having it wrenched and transfigured into a new reality that will best allow her to use her acting skills to convince an elusive Palestinian Bomber that she was once in love with his brother ”She was holding back her tears with a courage they must surely admire How could she take it? they must be wondering either then or now? The silence was like a pause between screams”Through it all she was praying that Joseph would stop them She hoped he would be her savior her protector and shelter her from the violent world they were asking her to be a part of Like T R Devlin in Notorious Joseph remains silent ”Joseph emerged He came to the foot of the steps and looked up at her and at first it was like staring into her own face because she could see exactly the same things in him that she hated in herself So a sort of exchange of character occurred where she assumed his role of killer and pimp and he presumably hers of decoy whore and traitor” The Master Spy Novelist John Le CarreJohn Le Carre transcends the genre with this book This is not just a spy book Readers who struggle with this book are expecting a page turning thriller along the lines of a Robert Ludlum book but this is so much This is literary espionage that challenges the reader with intricate details including the thoughts of the interrogator and the thoughts of the one being interrogated moment by soul wrenching moment The book also explores the deeper human elements of what it really means to die for an idea for a cause As the plot advances Charlie also experiences the changing alliances that can happen as one becomes intimate with people you once perceived as enemies Walking in the shoes of those you don’t understand blurs the lines of who is right and who is wrong and the black and white world in your head becomes a paler shade of both There is a 1984 movie starring Diane Keaton where Charlie is changed from an American actress instead of an English one I have not seen the movie but intend to very soon This is not an entertainment but a marvelous piece of literary writing along the lines of Fyodor Dostoevsky or the very best of Graham Greene I’ve read a lot of spy novels and intend to read many but I must say without any reservation this is the best espionagespy novel I’ve ever read and among one of the best books I’ve read from any genreIf you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. says:

    When spy novelist John le Carré broke off from George Smiley’s complex world long enough to pen this terrifying thriller in 1979 it announced a New World of TerrorSo said The Guardian in October of 2018 they pronounced this the one book that best predicted our present paranoiaBe that as it may for me it was the stimulus that drove me to bury myself safely in a grey world of existential psychology For ‘the world was too much with me’Yes with this novel the insularity of my little world was vanishing and like Wordsworth the real world suddenly lay too heavily on my shouldersBut my concurrent reading suggested there was another escape the subterranean thinking of an Underground Man Dostoyevsky’s so often misunderstood modern EverymanOr Sartre in whose densely abstruse circumlocutions I began to take refugeFor though I was now an affluent home owner I was uncomfortable in this too in your face world of breaking news But never as off balance as this book now made me feel cause it hit homeI remember a long bitter ride home on the crowded commuter bus into our new suburbThe faces of all the strangers around me were as wrapped up as I was in the private anxieties of their office crises the daily papers or thrillers mirroring exactly the faceless dread of a new world of terror which this novel which I was holding was describingI read enough to suirm noticeably and VERY uncomfortably in my bus seat and discarded it half way through I give it the four stars it surely merits thoughIf existential burrowing into human psychology was to be my next big reading escape from reality it was not the last But bestselling suspense novels were now on holdPolitical thrillers like THIS one had now on that day become like the Nazi dentist in Marathon Man drilling right into my nervesGoodbye to all thatSo I said back then but in reality I was just covering up my problem You see my real problem was my need for escape from life’s ever variable anxietyAnd THAT was Symptomatic of a MUCH deeper problem common to so many of usThe workplace was driving me to near despairAs a junior manager I was finding myself constantly HOUNDED badgered and berated by privileged senior executives I felt corneredAnd isn’t this the same for us ALL even if your job is not exactly like mine was? Office bullying is the name of the game and a part of its powerAnd there are Always Bigger Fish in the Sea of Life than usYou know God’s word and Man’s Law are essentially immutable and there seems to be no respite for so many of us so called victims unless Grace and Mercy rules your worldBut our moods and emotions are like uicksilver chameleonsWe’re so easily caught out over a detail and then dead to rights Easy prey for trickier people than usTS Eliot says it is a case of the Boarhound hounding the Boar it’s all over the world and there are fewer and fewer escapesBut then God speaks to us us hopeless victims in a still uiet voiceForgive them ALLAs many times as it takes Over and over again So often He says itWhy In the name of all that’s right?So that when the day finally dawns when we find the strength to FORGIVE ALL our oppressors the whole MasterSlave dichotomy will COLLAPSE Just like that at least in OUR OWN SOULS where it CountsAnd we’ll see the Big Picture Has it happened to you yet?It’s something I just discovered recently in my old age and it has helped me enormouslyFor if God is immutable and doesn’t play favourites who are WE to judge? We have to forgive Our whining little case can’t help but collapseAnd can you believe this it’s a GREAT feelingFor at last we can talk about a ‘level playing field’THIS is true freedom The END of anxietyMay it happen for you tooFor on the day when that Freedom dawns you’ll hearupon the sodden floorBelow the Boarhound and the BoarPursue their pattern as beforeBut RECONCILED among the stars


  3. says:

    They wanted her They knew her through and through; they knew her fragility and her plurality And they still wanted her They had stolen her in order to rescue herI have already officially declared myself a devoted John le Carré fan It truly seems he cannot write something bad or even mediocre as far as I’m concerned I knew with The Little Drummer Girl I would be missing my favorite spy George Smiley I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to seeing him in the pages of my novels every few months and I feared I’d feel the lack of his presence here And I did miss him a bit But no matter this book blew me away The behind the scenes mastermind of this adventure Martin Kurtz is a different sort of man altogether He seemed to be made of sterner stuff he was too paradoxical too complicated made up of too many souls and colours His power base was rickety and forever shifting according to whom he had last offended in his uest for the expedient allegianceWhat I found really refreshing in this book was the appearance of a leading lady Up until now it seems the men have been the stars of le Carré’s stage This time we have the pleasure of meeting a star of the London stage Charlie Her name was actually Charmian but she was known to everyone as 'Charlie' and often as 'Charlie the Red' in deference to the colour of her hair and to her somewhat crazy radical stances which were her way of caring for the world and coming to grips with its injusticesCharlie is given the chance to act in the role of a lifetime that of a double agent in the Israeli Palestinian conflict There is a terrorist bomber out there that needs to be stopped in his tracks and it needs to be done from the inside Charlie may have flirted with radicalism before but she is way out of her element in this one Enter Joseph her recruiter The working relationship between these two is complex to say the least I for one got completely caught up in the dilemmas presented by the roles both assumed in this very nuanced ‘theater of the real’ He’s come to collect my soul she thought as she swung jauntily past him in order to demonstrate her immunity Yet when did I ever promise him he could have it?This is far than your typical espionage thriller This is brilliant writing combined with moral complexities where the lines between good and bad are always blurred This is first rate characterizations combined with extreme tension and intrigue It's a very uniue and tragic love triangle of sorts This is not le Carré standing up on his soapbox and forcing his political views on us Rather we are given the opportunity to look at the human element on both sides of an issue It’s relevant even today almost forty years since its publication Without a doubt it is a literary novel of the highest caliber I’m not sure I’ll watch the movie adaptation starring Diane Keaton but I am super eager to check out the BBC miniseries production released in 2018 Update 1312020 The BBC miniseries with Florence Pugh Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon is brilliant the logic was the fiction and the fiction was a web that enmeshed everyone who tried to sweep it away


  4. says:

    “We want to offer you a job An acting jobThe biggest part you ever had in your life the most demanding the most difficult surely the most dangerous and surely the most important And I don’t mean money You can have money galore no problem name your figureThe part we have in view for you combines your talents Charlie human and professional Your wit Your excellent memory Your intelligence Your courage But also that extra human uality to which I already referred Your warmth We chose you Charlie We cast you We looked at a big field many candidates from many countries We came up with you and that’s why you’re here” Martin Kurtz in John Le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl The spy novel is a very particular genre with a very particular audience Generally I don’t count myself a fan When my book club read Alan Furst’s Spies of the Balkans everyone loved it As in really loved it They talked about it for hours And I just sat in the corner with a fake smile on my face wondering What the hell did I miss? There is nothing wrong with spy novels For the most part there is nothing wrong with me It’s just not my thing Thankfully John Le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl is far than a spy novel Oh to be sure there is espionage galore But it is also a morality play an exploration of belief and a serious glimpse at both sides of the seemingly endless conflict between Israelis and Palestinians This is a novel that hooks you from the first lines and never lets goIt was the Bad Godesberg incident that gave the proof though the German authorities had no earthly means of knowing this Before Bad Godesberg there had been growing suspicion; a lot of it But the high uality of the planning as against the poor uality of the bomb turned the suspicion to certainty Sooner or later they say in the trade a man will sign his nameThat man is Khalil blamed for a series of bombings including the one in Bonn that opens the proceedings Hot on Khalil’s trail is Kurtz an Israeli operative who cooks up a plan to find him Kurtz is a very familiar character the ultra smart and utterly dedicated spinner of webs entirely confident in every action he takes Yet Le Carré draws him indelibly so that though he feels an archetype he is also inimitable Everywhere Kurtz went he had been suaring things and checking out results gathering help persuading people feeding them cover stories and half truths overriding the reluctant with his extraordinary restless energy and the sheer volume and reach of his advance planning even when sometimes he repeated himself or forgot a small instruction he had issued We live for such a short time he liked to tell you with a twinkle and we are far too long dead That was the nearest he ever came to an apology and his personal solution was to relinuish sleep In Jerusalem they liked to say Kurtz slept as fast as he labored Which was fast Kurtz they would explain to you was the master of the aggressive European ploy Kurtz cut the impossible path Kurtz made the desert bloom Kurtz wheeled and dealed and lied even in his prayers but he forced good luck than the Jews had had for two thousand yearsThe plan Kurtz devises with the help of a younger protégé named Joseph is to recruit an actress into the “theatre of the real” That actress a young Englishwoman named Charlie will be convinced to portray the girlfriend of Khalil’s brother Salim The Israelis will then use her to get close to their prey To tell you would be – well it would be a couple things First a spoiler Second impossible The plot here is dense multilayered a maze overlaid on another mazeTwists and turns are all well and good What makes the unraveling worthwhile though is the characters No matter how farfetched things get no matter the number of crosses and double crosses Le Carré grounds everything in his creations Kurtz of course is unforgettable but it is Charlie that must bear The Little Drummer Girl’s moral weight She begins as a stereotype a flighty actress with superficial left wing politics When the Israelis uiz her on her worldview she has only glib responses with which to answer As she sinks deeper into her role however she comes to see the Middle Eastern struggle firsthand This is what separates the good from the great; this is what makes The Little Drummer Girl an enduring book a relevant book 35 years after it was first published On its face Le Carré’s story is boilerplate heroic Israelis track down mad Arab bomber And to be frank Le Carré stacks the deck in favor of his Israeli characters especially the charismatic Kurtz who gets the most reasonable speeches Despite this Le Carré works hard to present the Palestinian viewpoint as well To give some insight into their plight their worldview their reality In one seuence Charlie goes to a refugee camp to train There is a terrible yet pastoral peace that comes from living for a long time among the world’s real victims In the camp Charlie experienced at last the sympathy that life till now had denied her Waiting she joined the ranks of those who had waited all their lives Sharing their captivity she dreamed that she had extricated herself from her own Loving them she imagined that she was receiving their forgiveness for the many duplicities that had brought her hereThe farther she goes in impersonating Salim’s girlfriend the harder it becomes for her to distinguish the simple binaries she had been taught Who is right? Who is wrong? She becomes mired in a Dimmesdale like uandary losing track of her two faces “bewildered as to which may be true” It is worth noting that Le Carré was friends with the American freelance journalist Janet Lee Stevens She was sympathetic to the plight of Palestinian refugees and visited the camps with Le Carré at her side She was known in the camps as “the little drummer girl” because of her passion for their cause Stevens wrote powerfully about the massacre of the Sabra and Shatilla camps perpetrated by Christian militias while the IDF looked on Le Carré certainly makes an effort with The Little Drummer Girl to show both sides of a bloody coin If he doesn’t find a perfect balance it might be that that balance is not attainable There is a place in this world for the trashy novel the guilty pleasure the beach read This is something I truly believe As Kurtz would say life is short and death is long so you should enjoy it where you can But it’s worth mentioning – and celebrating – the rare novel that can do both A novel that can entertain and teach; that allows you to escape into false worlds but also understand this one a little better


  5. says:

    You want to catch the lion first you tether the goat Misha GavronIf a good book is one that immerses you in the fictional world it creates and makes you see and feel every moment of the characters lives and actions then The Little Drummer Girl is a study in what a good book should be I wondered if I would be swept up in it again as I was when I was young romantic and impressionable The answer is a resounding “yes” I have long counted it as a favorite unforgettable book and I am happy to say I was right it is thatJohn le Carre does not write one dimensional stories or cliched characters He is Janus and well able to show you both sides of the coin He can make you feel that there is no right or wrong good or bad only very flawed people trying to fight the demons both inside and outside of themselves Charlie our drummer girl is an English actress living the Western life and dabbling in political outrage but in truth naive and simple How she comes to be deeply involved in the Middle East conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian factions is as complicated as the conflict itself and John le Carre is a masterful writer to pull off this entanglement with all the detail and accuracy that is necessary to make it both believable and spellbinding Just as Smiley is not your typical British spy Charlie is not your typical asset In the midst of all this hatred she is motivated by love She is beyond her depth and she convinces herself that she can handle this by thinking of it as another role she is playing but this is not a fantasy she can control And what of Joseph her handler; what does he feel how much of this is just a role for him as well?If I were making a short list of underappreciated writers John le Carre would be up at the top He is one of those writers who can spin a tale that holds you enrapt while beneath the fascinating story he always has an important issue to address something worth saying that needs to be said He is a purveyor of human nature a soul searching magician a trafficker in literary style Yes this one stays in my favorites folder with all the enthusiasm and love that I felt for it the first time around Couldn’t ask for


  6. says:

    An amazing novel I was a le Carre fan coming in but this book's explorations of identity and morality blew my mind while simultaneously blowing up lots of other stuff It's a story about Zionists Palestinians and bombs And love and identity and morality It's complex as hell; the identity stuff is on a PK Dick level but goes there without drugs The morality issue may be closer to common as we are given Palestinians and Zionists and why they are who they are but le Carre never overtly politicizes Part of the point here is the complexity of the politics but a greater point is how it affects people And that's what this story comes down to people Fucked up beyond belief often to a large extent by choice because once you've chosen a political side and taken it to a certain point you have no other choiceThe characters are fully drawn developing as the story goes to the point that they develop the story but they do it in the context of an intricately written plotThis is a masterpiece No Smiley but the disappointment of his absence didn't last long It's a beautifully written book wry and harrowing


  7. says:

    I found this novel extremely disturbing and the movie version starring Diane Keaton even so Perhaps it's because I'm half Jewish and family discussions regularly circle back to IsraeliPalestinian politics The basic scenario in the book is that Mossad are concerned about a successful series of bombings carried out against Israeli targets by a Palestinian terrorist group They want to infiltrate the organization and recruit a young actress to help them There are two scenes near the beginning that I uite often think ofIn the first the Mossad agent who later becomes Charlie's controller is making the initial approach She's in the middle of filming a drink commercial; she's sitting under a beach umbrella with a handsome young guy smiling and laughing as they sip from their glasses When she's done he comes up and congratulates her on her performance She replies breezilyOh it's easy You just have to think that the wine's making you want to fuckI've never been able to watch a drink commercial the same way sinceThe second scene isn't as amusing She's been recruited and the controller is coaching her for her role She has to be able to look plausibly passionate about the horrors inflicted on Palestinians He tells her a story from 1948 where Israeli tanks were used to destroy a Palestinian village He goes into detail about the blood the deaths the suffering the appalling injustice She's uite shaken Then she asks him how he knows all these details He must have been somehow involved personally? And he repliesI was in one of the tanks


  8. says:

    John le Carrè’s The Little Drummer Girl is much than a spy novel At its heart is a compelling relationship – which just happens to be between an agent and her agent runner or case officer amid a fascinating plot to stop a terrorist bomber But it’s the genius and complexity of the relationship that raises The Little Drummer Girl to heights far above the limits of the spy genre An intricate fiction is planned in order to infiltrate the bomber’s network and bring him down Michel the bomber’s deceased brother will be used as the access point Charlie struggling English actress and ideological seeker is recruited somewhat against her will to play the part of Michel’s grieving lover But fabricating a history between the two won’t be easy Not only must the bomber be convinced of the fictitious love affair but also Charlie needs to be able to draw upon her memories of Michel and her feelings for him as if they are realWords have power and in this tale we see the power of the spoken word sound and breath to summon to establish memory where there is none Meet Joseph battle scarred Israeli hero and “all that a girl adrift could wish for in her savior” He’s an enigma a conjuror both warrior and poet Standing in for Michel he manipulates Charlie even as he’s drawn to her He walks her through scripted scenes of her imaginary life with Michel making her go through the motions and say the lines he’s written for her At first Michel appears only as a cutout a hallucination But through the power of words fiction becomes truth And Charlie’s lover becomes a chimera Joseph and Michel superimposed one over the other shifting in and out of sync their outlines indistinct At the conclusion of the novel we’re so invested in this relationship that we want We want to continue beyond the final page to see Charlie and Joseph heal and come into focus The Little Drummer Girl deserves a wider audience I think many readers who don’t enjoy the spy genre probably just overlook it And a note don’t expect it to be about politics le Carrè deftly avoids politics and manages beautifully to embrace characters on both sides of the Israeli Palestinian conflict


  9. says:

    I'm having a hard time untangling my responses to this novel part of me dislikes the dismissive way in which le Carré's female protagonist is portrayed her childish 'I'm a rebel me' politics her self absorption her naivety her arch dialogue in le Carré's defence I guess we have to remember this was first published in 1983 and can't help but be shaped by the gender politics of the timeI was also slightly amused that this is essentially a 'caper' plot albeit serious than that label freuently signifies The civilian trained up by the security services here Mossad to infiltrate a terrorist cell is a mainstay of many commercial thrillers and always reuires a certain level of suspension of disbelief I particularly found it hard to swallow Charlie going from small time actress to being able to resist two day interrogation by hard core Palestinian fighters in the snap of a finger Yet for all that this is a powerful book all the so for the slow build up of detail that so many of the negative reviews complain about It's true this doesn't have the immediacy and grab of so many of the Smiley novels and there were times when I was tempted to speed read especially since I started but abandoned the recent BBC production With hindsight though it's the very slowness that hooks us giving the story a depth and labyrinthine feel that comes from the accumulation of small moments intricate details that may or not be important At the heart of the book is the tragic impasse that still exists in the Middle East though with a renewed and heated resonance in 2019 The section set in Lebanon is especially powerful as Charlie has her rather easily ingested and shallow views challenged in all directions We do too as acts of terrifying violence are committed on both sides of the divide as refugee camps are bombed as children watch their father blown up by mines as an Israeli moderate speaking out for a Palestinian homeland becomes counter intuitively a target It's this sort of doubleness that gives rise to the most interesting part of the book the way that JosephMichel Israeli hero and Palestinian fighter become layered onto the same person and Charlie's relationships to both men While ostensibly one is 'real' and the other merely the product of acting the whole thrust of the book uestions that not least with the continued repetition of the phrase 'theatre of the real' Is 'Joseph' any real than his Michel? Does Charlie's love story with him have any foundation than the one he creates for her with Michel? What does that imply for the ending view spoiler saccharine and schmaltzy romantic fall into each others arms or something far sinister? hide spoiler


  10. says:

    I have a vague memory of a column by George Will back when I used to read him about this 1983 novel If memory serves Will was upset that le Carré depicts the Palestinians as having a point of view or maybe of just acknowledging that they exist He likened the book to a Harleuin romance He hated the dust jacket and the typeface I don’t like any of the choices we’re given in the Middle East choose one side or another or say “a plague on both your houses” or ignore it altogether Le Carré doesn’t like them either and offers no answers easy or otherwise He sees the big picture so well I wonder how well he sleepsHaving only just read this novel I’m surprised that it was so controversial It could probably be published today without creating a ripple Unfortunately though it would not feel datedI also remember not liking the movie with Diane Keaton It seemed bowled over by its own premise Wow an actress prone to fabulation playing a part—in real life A and forgetting that she’s acting Imagine that But it’s been a long time and maybe I should give it another shot As usual though as a novelist le Carré rocks His gift for creating complex characters for showing the small but telling gesture his sense of humor and his sympathy for his peopleit’s all here Sometimes I liked his characters sometimes not which I think is what was intended Also one of JLC’s less labyrinthine plots He can make real drama out of a situation that a lesser writer most of us I’m afraid would milk for just action or melodramaHis 1993 introduction relates some of the footwork he did to research this novel I hope he’s got a memoir in the worksHe is conceivably our George Orwell Can I be the first to say that? Probably not He also reminds me of Joseph ConradAs I’ve said before I found him too subtle and patience trying in my younger days but now I’m happily working my way through the catalog Glad to have 7 or 8 unread JLC novels still ahead of me If any of them too pissed off George Will then so much the betterA few uotes and bits of business typed out in the spirit of learning by doing for the Aspiring Novelist’sWorking Writer’s ToolkitAll Americans unsettled him; and most scared him either by their knowledge or their ignorance or bothHe had the answers children long fordeep down like most rebels she was only looking for a better conformityDo you think we do not understand that your politics are the externalisation of a search for dimensions and responses not supplied to you when you most needed them?”she herself that tiny gyroscopic creature deep inside that always managed to stay upright tiptoed gratefully to the wings to watch“You’ve read Frantz Fanon Violence is a cleansing force remember? It frees us from our inferiority complexes it makes us fearless and restores our self respect”Briefly they both smiled though not at each otherTo resort to violence was to throw all their hard earned goodwill out of the window Besides as professionals they deplored the very thoughtUnder the compulsion of his presence she had consigned her convictions to the dross of an earlier existence She wanted none of them unless he did“Our village was famous for its figs and grapes for its fighters and for its women as beautiful and obedient as you are”“ ‘The pogroms are about to begin’ he said I asked him—I the smallest who knew nothing—‘Father what is a pogrom?’ He replied ‘What the Westerners did to the Jews so the Zionists now do to us They have won a great victory and they could afford to be generous But their virtue is not to be found in their politics’ ”he was in the mood of a child who is criticising authority only in order to be reassured of its embraceHe would set a straight course only to look back and marvel at his degree of errorIf you have ever watched one you know that an empty car is a truly stupid thing to stare at and Litvak had watched a lot of them With time just by holding it in focus you find yourself remembering what a fatuous thing a car really is without man to give it meaning And what a fatuous thing man is to have invented cars in the first place After a couple of hours it is the worst piece of junk you have ever seen in your life You start to dream of horses or a world of pedestrians Of getting away from the scrap metal of life and returning to the flesh Of your kibbutz and its orange groves Of the day when the whole world finally learns the risks of spilling Jewish blood “What we call an unconscious agent”there were enough armed men in different uniforms to begin their own warWhen he had finished they asked her a number of grave uestions about the chastity of Western women of which they had heard disgraceful but not wholly uninteresting thingsI see this every day I am a hardnosed Western journalist describing deprivation to those who have everything and are miserableKurtz had asked a uestion; Minkel who renounced all barriers to knowledge as unacceptable proposed to answer itfrom now on Khalil reuires that there always be two things two plans two signs in everything a second system in case the first fails; a second bullet in case the world is still aliveShe heard a woman’s wail rising to a clenched beseeching sob; then a man’s urgent shout Helga and Mario were advancing the revolution without her assistanceThe answer was in everything she had seen since the night she had signed on with the theatre of the real For Palestine it ran For Israel For God For my sacred destiny To do back to the bastards what the bastards did to me To redress injustice With injustice Until all the just are blown to smithereens and justice is finally free to pick herself out of the rubble and walk the unpopulated streets


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