Excerpt from An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

An Ordinary Spy

A Novel

by Joseph Weisberg

An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg X
An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2007, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2009, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

1

Several months before I was scheduled to leave for     , I was assigned to the       office in              . In my case, I was shipping out in August, so I would be in       for most of the summer.

It was a busy time in      , but the officers running country desks liked to handle their own work. They’d give me an occasional name trace to run, or have me coordinate a cable with another division. But I wasn’t busy. I’d read the morning traffic—cables from the stations in                       , and what ever           traffic was coming in. I’d stop by my friends’ offices throughout the building or meet them for coffee in the cafeteria. And one or two days a week, I’d take care of various tasks I had to accomplish before going abroad, like                                           and getting my final medical clearance.

Other than that, I spent a lot of time reading. I had a stack of books on my desk about the history and politics of     , and I wanted to get through them all before I left. People at the Agency weren’t really "book people," and when colleagues stopped by my cubicle and saw me reading, they’d usually chuckle or say, "Good for you," in a sort of half-admiring, half "I wonder if you really belong here" way. This was the same attitude I’d gotten from the Chief of       when I’d needed him to sign off on an             course I wanted to take at the       Department. He’d said, "Nobody ever takes these," although after thinking about it for a few seconds he’d signed and said, "See if you get anything out of it."

One day, the Deputy Chief of      , a bland, decent guy stuck at GS-13 or 14, called me into his office. There’d been some sort of routine request from Congress about         and            , and he wanted me to do a file review of all of the office’s cases, active and inactive, going back five years, to find the information. He was apologetic about it, since even the words "file review" implied something wasteful and dull. But I didn’t mind. I’d read a few case files while working on various matters, and they were an interesting window into the work I’d be doing once I went abroad.

The office’s files were stored in long, low cabinets that ran the length of the wall between the Deputy Chief and the Chief ’s offices. There were probably about     of them, going back ten years. Inactive cases older than that were sent to Archives.                                                                                                                                                                 labeled TRBALLOON, pronouncing both of the first two letters, and then the word.                                                                                                                                                                                           either typed on a label or written directly on the folder. They varied in length, with the longer ones filling two or three of the orange folders.

Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Island of Missing Trees
    The Island of Missing Trees
    by Elif Shafak
    The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak tells a tale of generational trauma, explores identity ...
  • Book Jacket: The Correspondents
    The Correspondents
    by Judith Mackrell
    In the introduction to The Correspondents, author Judith Mackrell points out that although there had...
  • Book Jacket: The Lincoln Highway
    The Lincoln Highway
    by Amor Towles
    Things look bleak for Emmett Watson in June of 1954. The 18-year-old has just been released from a ...
  • Book Jacket: Tenderness
    Tenderness
    by Alison MacLeod
    Alison MacLeod's historical fiction book Tenderness considers what may have happened behind the ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky
by Margaret Verble
A deliciously strange and daringly original novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Margaret Verble.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    New York, My Village
    by Uwem Akpan

    A daring first novel—both buoyant comedy and devastating satire by the author of Say You're One of Them.

Who Said...

It is a fact of life that any discourse...will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Y Can't S T H, G O O T K

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.