Synopses & Reviews
CAREER ADVICE TO ASPIRING SPIES: IF YOU WANT TO JOIN THE CIA, DON’T FALL IN LOVE. AND IF YOU DO FALL IN LOVE, WATCH YOUR MOUTH.
Few books about life inside the Central Intelligence Agency have been written by women, and none have the wit, suspense, and authenticity of Loose Lips, Claire Berlinski’s dazzling first novel about a love affair between intelligence officers.
New Yorker Selena Keller has just completed a doctorate in Oriental studies. Unemployed and dismayed by her dull job prospects, she sends her résumé to the CIA on a whim. Within weeks, she is contacted by an Agency recruiter, who asks her how she would feel about convincing another human being to commit treason.
Despite her checkered past, Selena passes the background investigation, the polygraph, and a battery of bizarre CIA aptitude tests. Living under cover as a government budget analyst, she begins her education in espionage at the Farm, the CIA’s covert facility.
All CIA officers must survive a demanding training program, and it is there that Selena becomes romantically involved with Stan, a brilliant but darkly paranoid fellow student with presidential ambitions. What happens next is a fascinating inside portrait of the Agency—how spies are recruited, how they are trained, who they meet, where they go, and most important . . . what happens when they fall in love, and begin spying on one another.
A wonderful, pitch-perfect roman à clef that blends satire, romance, and suspense, Loose Lips offers a unique insight into the culture of the CIA.
"With Alias and The Recruit (not to mention current events) stirring up interest, Berlinski's insightful, clever debut will have wide appeal." Kristine Huntley, Booklist
"This first novel is well written and would appeal to anyone interested in the workings of the CIA, but those looking for a good, romantic read will need to go elsewhere." Library Journal
"Loose Lips told me everything I ever wanted to know about the CIA but couldn't think who to ask. Claire Berlinski's Selena Keller is one part Inspector Clouseau and one part Nancy Drew, with a touch of Sex in the City's Carrie Bradshaw thrown in. Berlinski makes central intelligence funny and endearing and (go figure) intelligent." Meghan Daum, author of My Misspent Youth and The Quality of Life Report
"This looks like an insider's account. Claire Berlinski does a marvelous job of portraying a young woman being plunged into a culture most Americans find difficult to understand. It's an honest book. It should be read by anyone intending to work for the CIA." Robert Baer, author of See No Evil
Imagine Bridget Jones in the world of John le Carré: Loose Lips is a woman's view of what it's like to join the CIA and fall in love with a fellow spy. Few have described this world with such wit and acumen, and Berlinski's dazzling debut reads like the real thing.
A new recruit of the CIA, Selena Keller learns that spies who fall in love with one another enter a wilderness of mirrors, where deception and betrayal are nothing less than professional obligations. Unabridged.
About the Author
Claire Berlinski was born in California in 1968. She grew up in San Francisco, New York, Paris, and the Pacific Northwest; as a teenager she studied philosophy at the University of Washington, then French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1989, she moved to England, where she studied modern history and earned her doctorate in international relations at Balliol College of Oxford University. Her writings about politics, the CIA, and national security have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She has also held a number of other jobs. She lives in Paris and Washington, D.C.
For more information on Claire Berlinski, go to www.berlinski.com
From the Hardcover edition.