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Old 02-16-2019, 02:06 PM   #31
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Sorry for the long diatribe. I worked within a completely different sphere, but which has similar risk management protocols and procedures. So this book just happened to grab me I guess. I won’t make a habit of ranting
Rant away! I think this was a fascinating perspective. It makes sense to me, too, insofar as Kit and Jeb were concerned. For Kit, who had prided himself on his part in the operation, as the finest moment in his career, it meant a radical shifting of gears and he had to acknowledge both that he was seen as a buffoon, got played, and then was shunted away to keep him quiet, all without his realizing it. His pride was hurt at least as much as he was guilty over his part in the deaths. (And what was it, really. His was a totally extraneous presence; he reminded me a bit of the autobiographical story told by Lillian Hellman which was filmed as Julia, where there were so many operatives within range that Hellman as smuggler didn't seem to serve a purpose. )

Jeb was played, too, but he knew it. He had no way back without taking the deal and his resentment at being in that position was probably as big a factor for him as the deaths.

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I agree. I stopped thinking of it as a novel - more like an autobiography that’s partially fictionalized in order to stay within the law. I thought he was watching a carefully constructed, century old, international system between Western allies being pulled to the ground, and was trying to blow a careful whistle.
Blowing a whistle, but also with perfect safety. No life on the line. Still, that's one thing we need artists for; they educate and change minds.
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Old 02-16-2019, 06:13 PM   #32
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For Kit, who had prided himself on his part in the operation, as the finest moment in his career, it meant a radical shifting of gears and he had to acknowledge both that he was seen as a buffoon, got played, and then was shunted away to keep him quiet, all without his realizing it. His pride was hurt at least as much as he was guilty over his part in the deaths.
Yes, and it was very painful that his wife saw he’d been played.
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Old 02-16-2019, 06:23 PM   #33
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Blowing a whistle, but also with perfect safety. No life on the line. Still, that's one thing we need artists for; they educate and change minds.
Very true. And maybe sometimes just to pose questions. It’s facinating to see such divergent interpretations of the very same book.
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:06 PM   #34
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The death of the woman and her child was not enough to have caused the actions by Quinn and Crispin and even Oakley. . I'm saying the dominoes never would have fallen that way in the first place

It would have been much more plausible, for this atrocity, for Crispin or Quinn to explain it as an accident. Maybe with incentives to keep Jeb quiet.
It really was a stretch, especially Jeb’s murder. Yes, it really was a stretch, especially the murder. It’s too bad, because the issues he’s raising are important and timely. But they get a bit lost because of a clumsy set up.

Last edited by Victoria; 02-16-2019 at 08:27 PM. Reason: I meant Jeb’s murder was a stretch, not the woman anc child.
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:11 PM   #35
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Yes, it really was a stretch, especially the murder. It’s too bad, because the issues he’s raising are important and timely. But they get a bit lost because of a clumsy set up.
But then of course what they were really covering up was the whole fraudulent set-up so that Crispin could pocket the money. Personally, I cared a lot more about the woman and child than about the money, but clearly they were of no importance by comparison with hiding the fraud.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:25 PM   #36
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But then of course what they were really covering up was the whole fraudulent set-up so that Crispin could pocket the money. Personally, I cared a lot more about the woman and child than about the money, but clearly they were of no importance by comparison with hiding the fraud.
I thought Kit and Jeb were genuinely distraught about the woman and her child.

It’s true that Toby wanted to expose and oust all of it. But I thought he was a courageous, good man. He risked everything to expose the photos of their murder. He could easily have ignored it and had a secure future, but he couldn’t be bought off. I found him quite believable.

The part of the story that was a stretch for me was Jeb’s murder, not the woman and child. It seemed to go to far, and wasn’t necessary for the story.

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Old 02-16-2019, 09:38 PM   #37
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Ah sorry, I wasn't clear. I agree with you that it was the deaths of the woman and child that mattered to Kit, Jeb and Toby.

I meant those deaths were of no importance to Crispin (and who knows how many others) by comparison with covering up the fraud. I found it quite believable that Crispin would have Jeb killed to avoid that being exposed.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:49 PM   #38
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I meant those deaths were of no importance to Crispin (and who knows how many others) by comparison with covering up the fraud. I found it quite believable that Crispin would have Jeb killed to avoid that being exposed.
Oh, gotcha, now I understand. Yes, Crispin was probably willing to go to any lengths to protect himself and his spoils.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:05 PM   #39
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A couple of peculiarities in the text piqued my interest. For example:

"English-looking hand" - What is an English-looking hand?

"Nazi-style doorway." - What is one of these?
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:08 PM   #40
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"English-looking hand" - What is an English-looking hand?
Idris Elba's?
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:42 PM   #41
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Idris Elba's?
You could be right. I'd pulled the quote out back when I read it, and only just now reminded myself of the context:
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The address T. Bell, Esquire, Flat 2, was done in a cursive, English-looking hand he didn’t recognize.
So we're actually talking "hand" as in "handwriting", but I still don't understand the "English-looking" description.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:01 PM   #42
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You could be right. I'd pulled the quote out back when I read it, and only just now reminded myself of the context:


So we're actually talking "hand" as in "handwriting", but I still don't understand the "English-looking" description.
Perhaps English schools tend to favour a distinctive style when teaching kids to write? My Dad went to (English-language) boarding school near Rawalpindi, and ten years learning Urdu definitely left a mark on his handwriting. Maybe English schools, particularly those of a certain socio-economic stratum, have a similar identifying style?

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Old 02-17-2019, 04:45 PM   #43
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A couple of peculiarities in the text piqued my interest. For example:

"English-looking hand" - What is an English-looking hand?

"Nazi-style doorway." - What is one of these?
Neat pick up. Fountain pens are one of my hobbies, but I’ve never come across any reference to an English style of cursive handwriting. The Nazi-style doorway is puzzle too.

I learned several new terms from the book. Referring to a senior official as a ‘Mandarin’ was a new term, as were ‘G-WOT’ (Global war on terror) and ‘Eurosceptic’.

‘Extraordinary rendition’ was new too, and an interesting use of the word ‘rendition’.

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Old 02-17-2019, 05:09 PM   #44
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Referring to a senior official as a ‘Mandarin’ was a new term
I have a vague memory that the name of the language (there being no such thing as "Chinese") comes from the fact it was the language of the court, the language OF the Mandarins.
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:51 PM   #45
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I have a vague memory that the name of the language (there being no such thing as "Chinese") comes from the fact it was the language of the court, the language OF the Mandarins.
Ah, that makes perfect sense, given their long history of court officials and public servants.
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