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Surveillanceby Jonathan Raban
Synopses & Reviews
In the not-too-distant future, national identity cards are mandatory, and America has become obsessed with intelligence-gathering. The government's scrutiny is omnipresent, civilians freely indulge their curiosity on the Internet, journalists pursue their investigations with relentless determination, and children both snoop on their parents and manipulate new technologies.
In Seattle, the unfulfilled actor Tad Zachary now performs mostly in the Department of Homeland Security's fictional disaster scenarios, while his friend and neighbor Lucy Bengstrom struggles to support her eleven-year-old daughter, Alida, on a freelance journalist's meager income-with their landlord providing additional threats. Then Lucy is assigned to write a profile of August Vanags, a retired professor turned best-selling author with his memoir of a childhood ravaged by World War II, but the validity of his account grows questionable, even as Lucy and Alida are charmed by both Vanags and his lonesome wife.
Everyone here is under surveillance or conducting it, and at risk of confusing what might be true for what actually is-a distinction not easily honored in a time of personal stress and widespread panic, when terrorist attack and literary fraud lurk around every corner. With precision and compassion, Jonathan Raban captures not only a peculiar period in our ongoing history but also a rich variety of lives caught up in fault lines that reach throughout society.
From the Hardcover edition.
In the not-too-distant future, no one trusts anyone and everyone is watching everybody else. America is obsessed with information and under siege from an insidious enemy: paranoia. National identify cards are mandatory, terrorism alerts are a daily event, and privacy is laid bare on the Internet. For a freelance journalist, her daughter, a bestselling author, and a struggling actor, these tumultuous times provide the backdrop as their lives become inextricably bound in a darkly humorous, frighteningly accurate story of life in an unstable world.
About the Author
“As atmospheric with vague menace as a Hitchcock thriller.” —Michael Dirda, New York Review of Books
“Scarily beautiful . . . . [Raban is] a gifted writer who explores the human condition with tenderness, empathy and rueful wit.”
—The Washington Post
“A timely disquisition on the fragility of truth and identity in the information age.” —Bloomberg News
“Raban is using fiction to explore the most important issues of our day and doing so at the highest artistic level.” —Oregonian
“Heart-thumping dread permeates this creepy, stunning book.” —Tucson Citizen
“Raban is a wonderful and cerebral stylist, a master of arresting syntactical inversions with an incisive view of our contemporary moment.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Mesmerizing. . . . Sharp and riveting. . . . A masterful job.” —Newsday
What Our Readers Are Saying
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