Surveillance: Book summary and reviews of Surveillance by Jonathan Raban

Surveillance

A Novel

by Jonathan Raban

Surveillance by Jonathan Raban
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2007
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In the not-too-distant future, national identity cards are mandatory, and America has become obsessed with intelligence-gathering. The government’s scrutiny is omnipresent, civilians freely indulge their curiosity on the Internet, journalists pursue their investigations with relentless determination, and children both snoop on their parents and manipulate new technologies.

In Seattle, the unfulfilled actor Tad Zachary now performs mostly in the Department of Homeland Security’s fictional disaster scenarios, while his friend and neighbor Lucy Bengstrom struggles to support her eleven-year-old daughter, Alida, on a freelance journalist’s meager income–with their landlord providing additional threats. Then Lucy is assigned to write a profile of August Vanags, a retired professor turned best-selling author with his memoir of a childhood ravaged by World War II, but the validity of his account grows questionable, even as Lucy and Alida are charmed by both Vanags and his lonesome wife.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Starred Review."An air of suspenseful dread hangs over every page of this intelligent, provocative book, and when the end finally rolls in, readers will be stunned and, in some cases, outraged." - PW.

"In this well-imagined tale....Raban's characters, not the futurist setting, are the real focus of this engrossing novel." - Booklist.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get nosy. And so, in this well-realized novel, does everyone else . . . A coolly delivered portrait of the Wired Age, when paranoia rules and truth is at a premium.” - Kirkus.

Surveillance is arguably the finest, most human, most chilling novel to have emerged in response to these desperate times.” – Literary Review.

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Raban is also the author of Waxwings and Passage to Juneau.

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