- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Main Market edition (7 Sept. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330418394
- ISBN-13: 978-0330418393
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,523,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Surveillance: A Novel Paperback – 7 Sep 2007
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'An impressively vague novel, shot through with storylines that are left teasingly unresolved at the climax' -- Daily Telegraph
'Jonathan Raban plausibly ramps up modern fears to create an atmosphere of menace'
'The novel's shock ending saves it, adding another dimension to the apocalyptic vision...'
-- Sunday Times
A gripping black comedy from the author of the critically acclaimed WaxwingsSee all Product description
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It's meant to be a novel but reads like a string of whining “Guardian”-reader comments on life in the US following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Bush administration's subsequent tightening of security laws.
Raban tries to tie this in with a feeble plot involving a woman journalist writing a profile of an academic with a mysterious past for the “New Yorker”. Instead of producing an insightful independent piece, she starts becoming involved with him and his family while her 11-year-old daughter, who has never had a father, develops an affection for him. Meanwhile, her half-witted Chinese landlord is planning to demolish the building she lives in after she spurns his attempts to marry her. There is also a gay character who is a bit actor although just what his purpose he serves is a mystery. The ending – something about an earthquake in Seattle – is just baffling.
If the book has a weakness it has to be the final chapter which in my view leaves too many ends undone. Nevertheless I would thoroughly recommend this book. An excellent reead.
Like other reviewers, I was shocked by the suddenness of the ending but believe reviewer J Fraser has it right when he says "I think he was trying to show that there are real dangers which we ignore in all our paranoia."
Jonathan Raban's writing is concise and evocative and always a pleasure to read.
The most rubbish ending to to a book which up to that point had been an enjoyable read...
And the end! The end of the book left me feeling cheated. None of the plot lines are resolved and it just finishes as if the author lost interest. I feel that the author should go back and rewrite what promised to be a great book, but turned out to be a damp squib.
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