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Edward Whittemore (1933–1995)

Teoksen Sinai Tapestry tekijä

7 teosta 834 jäsentä 25 arvostelua 9 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Sisältää nimen: Эдвард Уитмор

Image credit: photo by Carol Martin


Tekijän teokset

Sinai Tapestry (1977) 271 kappaletta, 7 arvostelua
Jerusalem Poker (1978) 188 kappaletta, 5 arvostelua
Quin's Shanghai Circus (1974) 140 kappaletta, 7 arvostelua
Nile Shadows (1983) 110 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Jericho Mosaic (2009) 106 kappaletta, 4 arvostelua

Merkitty avainsanalla




In this final book of the [Jerusalem Quartet] Whittemore follows the career of one Yossi, an Iraqi born Jew who becomes a deep agent for the Mossad in Syria, the Runner, who poses and then, in some way, becomes a Syrian and for decades successfully transfers information that, among others, enables the successful fight for the Golan Heights and some shifting of the borders to the west. In the end he works for the Syrians as well and the stress overwhelms him but it is hardly surprising. The man who is his 'handler', Tajar, the first head of the Mossad (I have no idea of any of the historical accuracy of any of this but I suspect names are changed and the essence is true) is a very minor person in the previous novel as is 'Bell' who in the previous book was the head of 'The Monastery' a British undercover organization in Egypt. Whittemore was undoubtedly an agent himself for the US, deeply knowledgeable about all things Middle Eastern. His description of the implosion of Lebanon is masterful. I grew up reading endlessly about the chaos there and it was helpful to read about how it came about in this more intimate way. I think, having read all four books, Whittemore is attempting to show how generation after generation the same theme, with variations, plays out between Arabs, Jews, and Christians, nothing resolved, nothing changes (as in improves). There are merely periods of quiet punctuated by extreme violence and reshufflings. A few die in the crossfire, a few survive to sit on the sidelines watching history repeat itself very much like water, always different, always the same. Any person interested in the Middle East will find the Quartet worthwhile reading. ****1/2… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
sibylline | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 24, 2023 |
The third of four in the extraordinary and strange novels of the Jerusalem Quartet is very different from the first two. For one, it's serious, shadowed, dark. This is not a John LeCarre mystery, clever layers within layers, this third book is a meditation on purpose and what happens if a person loses hope. Stern, the son of Plantagenet Strongbow, born in the desert around the turn of the century is a child of everywhere and everyone, nowhere and no one. He is a big quiet, intriguing, kind, loveable and mysterious man. His dream is of helping to create a Palestine where the monotheistic monoliths, Christianity, Islam, Judaism can exist in harmony. Directly opposed to this sort of blasphemy (although they are only one among many) are the Nazis who, in love with death (in their own sick way recognizing that in death is the perfection they seek--absolute control, absolute authority). Cairo, unthinkably, is under threat. Rommel is impossible to stop. How do the Germans always seem to know what the British have planned? Stern has worked as an agent for decades and comes under suspicion. Joe O'Sullivan Beare (from the previous novel who, appropriately, has lived as a shaman in the American Southwest for the last ten or so years but is an old friend of Stern's) is called in to unravel the mystery of Stern. Instead he finds that Stern is unraveling, for as the war rages on, he is losing fait, suspecting that his cause is hopeless, that the difficulty is within the human soul -- that humans are impossible to manage, life itself is impossible to manage because all is in constant in motion, changing, evolving . . . and at the core? Life and love, life and suffering and loss are inseparable. Some kind of fundamental, almost impersonal wickedness is inevitable. The story itself is a vehicle for these meditations and if you don't like thoughtful books, don't bother. It feels as if there ought to be a plot, what with all swirling secret agents and agencies at loggerheads, but there really is not. What Joe does find out is . . . well, I can't spoil, but it has more to do with the state of a soul and what I was writing of above so if you're looking for a clever plot, etcetera, stay away. Honestly, I never did figure out, not for sure (if there even is an answer in the text I might have missed it) whether Stern did betray anything to the Germans by accident or on purpose. And it's not really the point, is it?

Correction: The review below mine on the book page states that the novel is set during WW1. No. It is WW2.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
sibylline | 1 muu arvostelu | Oct 23, 2023 |
Whittemore gets that it is impossible to be rational about anything to do with the Middle East and multiply that by infinity when the subject is Jerusalem. Likely the initial settlement there was chosen for practical reasons, e.g. that there is no inherent spiritual reason why this 'hilltop' has become the possibly the most important city on the planet, as regards the life of the spirit. Whittemore does not try to unravel the mystery, instead he weaves a story of improbabilitie and intersections, layering one upon another from the Babylonians to the Crusaders, the Greeks to the Ottomans, to the early moments of the Zionist movement. In this second of the Quartet, a poker game begun in 1921 between three people, a black Arab-Sudanese, a Jewish-Hungarian ex-diplomat/soldier and an Irish ex-Independence fighter continues. The stakes are high: the winner will win Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the quest for the original bible (known as the Sinai Bible) is still on, though muted through this book. 3000 year old Haj Harun, the defender of Jerusalem, hosts the poker game and arbitrates when needed. That's all you need to know. Either you will be drawn in or you won't. ****1/2… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
sibylline | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 23, 2022 |
We just can't help wanting to put things into orderly categories but some novels thoroughly defy the notion. What often happens, alas, is that these authors get compared to others with a similar issue and then dismissed from the 'canon' as being, sure, yeah, realists about some things but so off the wall about the rest, that what can a scholar do but ignore such chaos? Whittemore belongs firmly in this category. You know that from page 1 with the description of Plantagenet Strongbow, born around 1840 and heir to the Dukedom of Dorset. No, actually, you know it from the second you read his name. You also know you are in the hands of a genuine storyteller. I am not going to describe the plot or even the characters as that would take all day and night, but summarize by saying, the last book I read that actually helped me understand the turmoil that is the Middle East was David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace (1870's). This is the second. (There have been others, but not like these two.) Sinai Tapestry is the first of four novels that make up a quartet--the purpose of which, I think, is to lift out and pinpoint specific currents, happenings and obsessions that emerge from the epicenter of the Middle East, the Sinai and Jerusalem. All of these are historically 'true' occurences. Then there is the other piece of the story, literally 'the story' but not historical because how can it be? Whittemore's aim here is to capture the essence of the matter: positing an original Bible, a chaotic document 'suggesting infinity' written by a blind man and an imbecile, replaced by a religious fanatic who decided that the real Bible was too chaotic so he carefully forged a better one (this in the 1800's) destroying himself with the effort. Other dreams and obsessions exist too: of creating a peaceful land where the three monotheistic religions can live side by side. This theme, this thread has also been present for over a century, albeit lesser as being the most fantastical idea of all. I spent a lot of time reading, looking things up (Asa Jennings! Who knew?) and a certain amount of time staring out the window. The portrait of Jerusalem is also quite wonderful, so affectionate and so uncompromising. This first of the four ends in 1922 and I think the next one starts right then. Sometimes fiction does a better job at revealing truths than just the facts, m'am.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
sibylline | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 16, 2022 |


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