Sunday, 31 January 2010

'Ghost', by Robert Harris

This a classic ‘airport novel’ – one you can pick up on impulse and read quickly. It certainly draws you in. Having read all Harris’s previous novels, I found this an ‘outlier’, less erudite and researched than the others, but still distinctively marked with his style of writing and plotting.

I read this quickly, compulsively turning the pages, mainly as I lay on a futon on the floor in Japan, suffering from jet lag. A post airport novel!

This book is boldly modelled on Tony Blair and his wife, and is very contemporary. It was obviously a money-making distraction from his promise to write more books about Cicero (see earlier review on ‘Imperium’). It is a great story, and I recommend it. However I sadly sense Harris being nudged by commercial realities, rather than following where his heart lies in historical fiction. (Ironically, after only a few years, this book may plausibly be classified as historical fiction!) Perhaps that is why he includes some acid portraits of publishers and book agents.

John Vernon

No comments: