Monday, October 20, 2008

The Defection of A. J. Lewinter: A Novel of Duplicity by Robert Littell

The Defection of A. J. Lewinter: A Novel of Duplicity by Robert Littell is the author's first spy novel that was published in the late 1970s. This is my first Littell and definitely won't be my last. Lewinter: an American ceramics scientist effects to the Soviets, the novel is wrapped around how the Americans and Soviets will respond and whether they will use his information. Littell is a genius at short characterization. In other words being able to give us insight into a character in a few lines. Most authors would have to go into pages and pages of description to achieve the same effect. The characters are a touch stereotypical but at the same time react differently enough to be real. There's also a nice twist in the end.

The point of view jumps between American and Soviet officials as well as Lewinter himself. Somewhat unusually for novels of this era one of the American officials girlfriends becomes integral to the plot. There are also occasional excerpts from interview transcripts. It's a little literary but I didn't much mind.

Highly recommended!


Maddie MoZelle said...

I enjoyed your review. I got here from your link at Library Thing. The Defection of A J Lewinter is one of my favorite books, and I was reading what other people at LT had to say about it. I'm sure I'll be rereading it at some point, and I only do that with the REALLY good ones!

jmnlman said...

Glad you liked the review.