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An Ordinary Spy
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About the Author

Joseph Weisberg is the author of the critically acclaimed 10th Grade, which was a 2002 New York Times Notable Book. A former CIA officer, he grew up in Chicago and currently lives in New York City.

Reviews

"[A] beautiful new novel. The book, though serious and strong, is not a novel in the normal sense. It is, rather, itself an act of espionage, the collected field reports of Ruttenberg meticulously spying on himself. This book is surely the best portrait of the working C.I.A. we have had in many years." -- Mark Costello, "New York Times Book Review""In this muted, cerebral thriller, redacted words--at times, nearly an entire page is blacked out--eliminate identifying details of place and spying technique, and heighten the sense of disorientation. Weisberg, a former C.I.A. agent, skillfully maintains a tension-filled plot and offers a humanistic spin on the typical spy story, sensitively portraying the pain of risking lives for the sake of ambition." -- "The New Yorker" "[Weisberg's] novel recalls Graham Greene's comic 'Our Man in Havana.' 'An Ordinary Spy' is an odd, well-written and interesting novel, a low-key corrective to all the razzle-dazzle spy tales we've read. [Weisberg's] account is a useful reminder that the agency is, at bottom, a bureaucracy with as much potential for absurdity as any other." "--"Patrick Anderson," Washington Post"" 'An Ordinary Spy' stacks up as a superb CIA novel." -- Harry Levins," St. Louis Post-Dispatch""A well-wrought, beautifully crafted, incisive book about the huge emotional and psychological tolls the craft of spying can take from those who practice it, and a remarkably honest and revealing picture of those who shouldn't have become spies in the first place. Trying to figure out which redactions are Mr. Weisberg's creations and which are the PRB's makes 'Ordinary Spy' a literary Sudoku, leaving readers to fill in the blanks whereverthey can. It's a provocative and often bedeviling technique." "--"John Weisman," Washington Times""Ruttenberg and Goldstein may be pretty ordinary spies, as the title suggests, but their stories compel, thanks to the author's deft prose and insider expertise."--"Publishers Weekly""Weisberg's prose is crisp, and he moves the story along well." "--Charleston Gazette""Wholly original." "--Los Angeles Times"" [A] deft, sour, and clever new novel of espionage, bureaucracy, and disenchantment. Mr. Weisberg is a sly, dryly funny writer. His writing feels authentic. And it is the story of two of these ordinary men, these ordinary spies, that Mr. Weisberg sets out so skillfully. There's no great message that underpins this novel, no intimations of coming American collapse: just a tale well told of lives that were meant to be spent watching, probing, plotting, guessing, and double-guessing, lives that, it turns out, go somewhat awry, lives that are illuminating only in their insignificance, and yet they are lives on which yours, and mine, may depend." "--New York Sun""The narrative [is] quite gripping... a novel that resembles the best of new American spy fiction."--"Chicago Tribune" (Alan Cheuse)"Weisberg's skill grips the reader throughout"--"Seattle Times""This is definitely a book to read."--"Booklist""In two words: A masterpiece. An intelligent spy thriller written in a deft, dry style that reveals a landscape both darkly funny and unsettling. Joe Weisberg is one of our most accomplished and generous writers."-- Gary Shteyngart, author of "Absurdistan" "I have never read an espionage novel with quite the sense of authenticity Joe Weisberg achieves in "An OrdinarySpy," He has crafted not only an engrossing and highly-original work, but a fascinating journey into a world most of us will never encounter. Chances are you'll never think about the CIA in quite the same way again."-- Arthur Golden, author of "Memoirs of a Geisha""It's tempting to say that "An Ordinary Spy "is extraordinary, but I'm afraid that doesn't begin to do this novel justice. In a world where everyone is always promising to reinvent genres and subgenres, Joseph Weisberg hijacks the espionage thriller and finds the grave beauty in the quotidian--and dares to write about one of the most dangerous topics of all, the search for a meaningful yet moral life."--"New York Times "bestselling author Laura Lippman "Most so-called spy fiction out there today is so far from reality that we pros don't read it. Joe Weisberg is a notable exception. He nails it. "An Ordinary Spy c"aptures perfectly the spy world I lived in my whole career, how we talk, how we think, and how we operate. Joe gets it better than Clancy and is on a par with McCarry. His book is the best spy story I've read in years."--James M. Olson, former chief of CIA counterintelligence and the author of "Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying ""A great read. Stunningly realistic."--Ted Price, former Deputy Director for Operations, CIA ""

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