Spotted: Everything Is Illuminated

The only thing I had ever heard about “Everything Is Illuminated” was that it was a “hipster” book.  I never really knew what that meant, but I also never really doubted it, since most of the time I saw it being carted around by someone who could probably fall into that category.  And the obscure title kind of fits the part.  But then again, I really liked “Infinite Jest,” so what the f@ck do I know.

But then I see this pretty young lady reading it (wearing some sweet sweet riding boots that the wife would love), and she doesn’t really fall into that category.  And now that I know the plot line involves a young American trying to piece together what happened to his family during the Nazi liquidation of Jews in the Ukraine, I think I might have to revisit how I see this book.  Or maybe, you know, read it.

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Spotted: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

It’s supposed to hit 90 degrees here in SF today, an event which happens between never and two times a year, so my timing of writing about “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” a book I saw some months ago (over the summer, when it probably was cold), is a bit off.  But timing has never been my strong suit.  More of a weak suit, which, in my mind, is probably made from camel hair and has a stubborn stain of questionable provenance around the crotch area.  But, it is normally pretty cold here.  Never really really Michigan, Boston, Canada cold, but pretty chilly, especially during the summer months.  In fact, believing our Native American Summer (can I do this or is the whole idea of an “Indian” summer just racist and insensitive?  Please tell me.) to be effectively over, this past weekend I decided to make a nice hardy stew that required a 350 degree oven on the first day of our nice little heat wave .  So yeah.  Timing.  Not so good.

But what an awesome title for a book.  So visually mysterious.  You instantly conjure up the image of a a person having just walked in through the door from the outside, stomping the snow off of his/her boots, framed by the howling wind behind, and bundled up from head to toe, the person’s identity is obscured.  Not quite sure what to make of him/her.  Friend?  Foe?  It’s like what a spy would have written him/herself.

Oh wait, ONE DID.

John le Carré  is one of those names I’ve of heard on and off over the years, and I think more than once  phonetically confused with Louis L’Amour, an author who, rather confusingly/paradoxically to me, is an author of Western Fiction and NOT Romance novels with Fabio on the cover.

Turns out John le Carré, aka David John Moore Cornwell, was a spy, having worked for both MI5 and MI6 before turning to full-time writing under his nom de plume.  This is one of his better known works.  I’m preparing to pick this one up on a cold day, maybe while I’m eating a salad and some ceviche.  Just because that seems to be what I do.