I have read two of Robert Harris’ novels lately, Fatherland and this The Ghost I am writing about. I came across RH by chance, I was looking for audio books specifically read by Michael Jayston (I know, it is a bit freakish) and I stumbled upon this novel, which sounded familiar since the film was released not too long ago.
I like RH’s style. It is sober but pacey and he does not get pompous. He is very clear about the type of books he creates: best sellers. So for instance, choosing the Ghost himself as the narrator is a good idea. As an outsider he can picture all the characters, describe the mood of Tony Blair’s (sorry, is it not him?) entourage with a touch of humour and cynicism. He combines political fiction, the action of a thriller and even some morbid curiosity, into one nice package.
I particularly liked the the intercourses between the Ghost and the ex-PM. One gets to like and dislike the man at the same time, which is probably what most people felt about Blair. I thought that the depiction of the ex-PM’s wife is particularly crafty, in fact it is probably the backbone of the novel. It is the best rounded character: ruthless, determined, one even thinks at one stage also resentful, only to discover later in the book that it is not resentment what she feels but the need to control his husband, but I will not spoil the end.
However, I thought the way the plot came to an end was somewhat hasty. It is ok to try not to bore the reader with complicated plots, but at the same time one must be careful with simplistic outcomes. I do not like conspiracy theories.
On the whole it is an enjoyable novel, certainly very UK orientated, but good fiction stuff.