The Bronze Medal

home  |  November 10th, 2012

You could say that all novels are spy novels and all novelists are spy masters. Novelists have to be adept at controlling the flow of information, and, most crucially, they have to be in charge of the narrative. So it is the case in this love story that, without wishing to give away too closely the end of this novel, Tom is spying on Serena as a novelist, even as she is spying on him as a spy. And it’s interesting too, I think, that, in Britain at least, our spy tradition draws from a generation of novelists who were all working in the intelligence services. So Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Somerset Maugham and Charles McCarry all did their time with mostly MI6, sometimes with MI5, sometimes both.

— Ian McEwan

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