The Midnight swimmer by Edward Wilson

the midnight swimmer

The midnight swimmer by Edward Wilson

American fiction

Source review copy

Edward Wilson own life reads rather like a novel when you read his bio ,he has served in Vietnam with special forces got a bronze star and ,when he left the army he decide not to return to the us but settled here in the UK and since has been a teacher in Suffolk .He has written a number of other novels .

Catesby hated his office in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium ,Berlin .There were no windows and no – gemutlichkeit .It was the German word for “cosines “,but the full sense of glowing warmth conveyed by the expression was untranslatable .It was funny ,though Catesby ,that the germans ,who valued Gemutlichkeit so highly , constructed buildings that completely destroyed it .

I choose this passage  as it mention words and translation !

Well I was a bit nervous as this is the third in the series of novels ,but it did work as a novel in itself .The book features Catesby ,he is a spy but not in the Bond mode ,no for me he fell between Smiley and Harry Palmer a rough diamond a working class lad that has grafted his way to the top ,but is no man’s fool ,Any way this is the start of the sixties, a world where lady chatterlys lover trial  is happening ,Profumo is unmasked  here in the UK .In america JFK and his beautiful wife have come to the white house ,Vietnam is brewing in the background and of course the is Fidel Castro in the background .Anyway Catesby is set on a mission that could stop the cold war falling further down the rabbit-hole into total chaos .This sees him go from Washington to Cuba .He has to meet a Russian who may have something to tell him  ,along the way he meets the Russian’s beautiful wife .He has a message to go from east to west .All this is happening in October 63 just before the events that shock the world in November 1963 .

Dallas . 22 November 1963 

They wanted to blame it on Havana .That’s why the fall guy .Lee Harvey Oswald , was told to become a member of the fair play for Cuba committee and to make a big show of handing out Pro-Castro leaflets .The truth was otherwise .The gang still wanted Cuba back and that was one of the reasons Kennedy had to die .

An interesting after word near the end of the book .

Now I don’t read many thrillers so being offered this book was a chance to go back to my past growing up we had a lot of thrillers in the house my father is a huge thriller read and I did read a lot in my late teens ,the ones I tend to remember had like this an enigmatic outsider at the heart of the story .Catesby is an outsider a man who has outgrown his working class roots ,but has it seems never felt totally comfortable in the world that surrounds him .I always felt he was a bit more sympathetic to the Russians than other character I have read like Smiley or Harry palmer .In fact at times I was reminded of the admiration Jack Ryan had in the hunt for reed October for the Russian he was trying to find . The world Catesby lives in is one that as history has shown if one wrong move had happened at this time the world we live in would be very different . So if you like fast paced intelligent thriller this is one for you .

Have you a favourite character from thrillers ?

Libra by Don Delillo JFK 50TH

libra_first_ed

Libra by Don Delillo 

US fiction 

Source – personnel copy 

Well today is the 50th anniversary of the shooting of JFK and I have chosen two books to remember or mark the occasion this is the first that I did read a year or so after it came out in 1988 the year of the 25th anniversary.Don Delillo is probably alongside Paul Auster my favourite American writer. I have read most of his books and even read his huge Underworld twice I loved it so much ,If you fancy try that book Jackie and a few others have done a read-along that starts in two weeks .Don Delillo grew up in an Italian part of the Bronx , New York .He has written more 15 novels . 

Earlier that day a young man walked into the outer office at Guy Banister associates in New Orleans .Delphine Roberts was at her desk typing a revised list of civil rights organizations for Banisters files .The young man stood patiently waiting in jeans with rolled cuffs two days stubble on his chin .

Oswald in Guy Banisters office where he also meet David Ferrie both big character in the film JFK . 

Well Libra is a fiction account of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald the man who shot JFK .from his early life ,joining the marines ,his journey to Russia to become a defector  where he met and married  his Russian wife Marina and then his return to the US with his wife  .Then he settled in Dallas after spending time in New Orleans working for the Free Cuban Movement and pro Castro causes .He finally start working at the book depository in Dallas where he Shot JFK from .Now he comes across as a strange man , almost outcast ,a man who  is never really part of anything a man who has communist leanings ,but he  can also be  easily be swayed by others it seems .The book has a similar feel to the film JFK by Oliver stone that did actually come out a few years after the book ,but isn’t based on the book and actually the book is far more in-depth and connects the dots a lot more in regards to Oswald’s life .

Well it is fifty years to the day ,since the events in this book The death of JFK at the hands of Oswald .So reading this book brought the events of that day and what lead to the assianation ,things like the Cuban crisis ,JFK personnel views .On the other side is Oswald this guys life is strange to say the least a man who was not once but twice a traitor ,the first time is his decision to escape the Us and to become a Soviet citizen ,where he is suspected of giving away secrets to the U2 spy plane .But even after doing this he returns to US and has no real action taken against him and has his wife allowed to be with him .He even appears of TV as a communist .I still wonder who he was Delillo has lifted the lid on his life a bit more in this novel but Oswald is still one strange man and his history just in my mind seems very strange .The book is of course a novel so what is real and what is made by Delillo mix but we get a real feel of the man and the times he lived in .Also a look at what drove this man who shot the president ,almost like he is destined to do this one thing as he gets more and more desperate .

Have you read Delillo ?

What are your thoughts on JFK and the Assassination ? 

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