Of Our Own Device

Of Our Own Device What Do You Do When You Realize That The American Dream You Ve Been Working For Isn T Enough If It S Yours Alone And What You Re Told To Do Will Destroy The Only True Friend You Ve Ever Had Summer Of 1985 Jack Smith Is A Rookie CIA Case Officer Posted At The American Embassy In Moscow Despite His Gregarious Nature, Jack Is A Lonely Man Not Only Is He A Reluctant Spy, He Is Also Gay.When He Meets Eton Volkonsky, A Talented Nuclear Physics Student, Jack S Bosses Instruct Him To Develop The Russian As A Future Agent Their Friendship Deepens, And Jack Is Torn Between His Suspicion That Eton And Friends Are With The KGB And His Attraction To The Man But He Continues Telling Himself And His Bosses That He Is Just Doing His Job, Developing His Agent.Only When He Leaves Russia Does Jack Admit That He Has Been Fooling Himself He Takes On Assignments In Various Countries, With A Hope That Eventually They Will Get Him Back To Moscow.As Introspection And Growing Doubts About What He Does For Living Torment Jack,the World Is Buffeted By A Whirlwind Of Dramatic Events Diplomatic And Spy Wars, The Rise Of AIDS, The Chernobyl Catastrophe, The War In Afghanistan And The Disintegration Of The Communist Bloc.Given A Second Chance, Will Jack Make The Right Choice I always find it very difficult to write a review of a book that deeply moved me I had a look at my reviews of my all time favorite books recently, and had to hold myself back not to make them disappear forever They sound like a disjointed mumbling of a ten year old girl who has just discovered the existence of an exclamation mark Besides, these reviews are not very helpful But again, I am running out of words when I try to explain how GOOD this story is, how GREAT the characters are and how I want all of you to go through these oceans of emotions and to experience the same intensity of feelings while reading this book.Okthe story Set in the middle end of the 1980s in Russia West East Germany USA this novel offers EVERYTHING that a fan of a powerful political spy thriller can only dream of the most excited history, a spies war on a very high level, complex politics, a lot of research hats off to the author WOW But even if this part alone deserves 5 stars, the best, THE VERY BEST, the most fascinating, stunning, breathtaking, amazing, grandiose part isYESa LOVE STORY The characters Jack,
I would like to share a few thoughts about this really OUTSTANDING book.To get to the point other reviewers were so right This is NOT a romance Rather, it s an EPIC, CONSUMING LOVE STORY Romance doesn t hit it too weak and to little to grasp what this book offered in its entirety It is so much Even if you know it won t last and it ll hurt you in the end But in your heart of hearts, you ll know what you have to do to be with that person, no matter what For as long as it lasts It s not just love, Eton It s fate On the one hand there is this spy story, which is the plot skeleton And one the other hand there is a wealth of history History that many of you will only know from the news at that time, from television, from films or books The events are over 30 years in the past And yet it was for me as if it were yesterday In this case, however, it was history I have lived and experienced for myself Minutely described are events that occurred in the mid 80s At that time I was a bit younger than the two main characters, which are in their early or
4.5 It s 1985, Glasnost and Perestroika have come to Russia, AIDS, which had been steamrolling through the gay community, is making its presence known to the world at large, and the Year of the Spy is in full swing between the C.I.A and the KGB Welcome to the world compellingly and masterfully brought back to life by M.K South in Of Our Own Device To his colleagues in the American Embassy in Moscow Jack Smith is a recently appointed junior officer with the USIA In reality he s a deep cover C.I.A operative whose persona is that of a gregarious, friendly, and at times oblivious American, though he is no such thing It turns out Jack is uniquely qualified for life as a spy He s a gay man who came of age in a less accepting era I m guessing he s over 25 but under 30 and place He grew up in an infelicitous household, complete with dead mother and an abusive, alcoholic, bigoted father In short he knows how to hide in plain sight in spite of physically being a looker tall dark with cornflower blue eyes All he wanted was an escape, a better life, a ranch in California, the reality of which the army and later the C.I.A promise like a mirage in the desert Jack is tasked with befriending a
This book is very well researched which in this case is both a good thing and a bad thing Let me explain The good part is that the facts as laid out in the book make you want to go and look for details, for pictures and facts, a thing I did and enjoyed The bad thing here was that South was not curbed by a good editor not to use all that research in the actual book but rather to use it in those mysterious magical writerly ways so that we the readers get the story, get the emotions without the overload of all the nitty bitty facts South tells the story using real life happenings to move the story forward and so I felt that the story had a very slow rhythm Believe me I m not a very slow reader and I ve come to trust my judgement regarding this as I ve known myself to read gulp down books at a much faster rate than I did this one This one I couldn t.So although I liked the story, I kept imaging it being told in another way As
Scene Two friends at a restaurant Friend 1 Wow, the food here is really terrible Friend2 I know And such small portions, too I m at a complete loss I don t know how to rate this book The espionage aspects were completely over my head, so essentially I skimmed 80% of it, looking for the love story parts When I got to them, I found the writing sophomoric The characters were well developed but their dialogue was clumsy Jack s exclamation point filled inner monologue was over the top Eton s diary entries provided a second POV that abruptly stopped O
4.5 stars.Loved it If you love a love story, but need it to be then a simple romance, you re going to love it If you love a story that is full of historical events that shaped our world as we know it, you ll love this book.But most of all I loved the characters I loved Eton s clever naivety, his quiet and total love He is the perfect character for me.I also really loved Jack, but OMG, Eton just stole my heart It s very obvious that the author know what she is writing about and did a good background research of the period.The writing is great even if sometimes it s too detailed and in need of a better editing, it was still an amazing and intense read.I would say this book is a mixture of Voinov s Special Forces with Ta
Jack Smith is a somewhat reluctant CIA agent under deep cover in soviet era Moscow in the mid 1980s Preternaturally handsome, he is at heart a gay man, but as a spy he is whatever the company requires him to be as an American working in Soviet Era Moscow he does whatever is required to project an image of banal heterosexuality Jack is smart, savvy, suspicious as is required of him, while remaining empathetic and as the novel progresses, increasingly sympathetic towards the group of Russian nomenclature students he has befriended as part of his job Erin Volkonsky is a shy, lonely PHD student, deeply closeted due to the spurious social conditions of the time, and an avid writer It is through his writing that most of his beautiful characterisation takes place Eton is also a near genius, ambivalent nuclear physicist and passionate musician, the grandson of a Soviet nuclear physicist, royalty whom, due to his mysterious family history is marked as an unwitting pawn of the CIA in Moscow The relationship between Jack and Eton is a tantalising slow burn of forbidden sexual tension, angst and mutual suspicion Spanning almost a decade, three continents, and set against a back drop of real life events from the spate of US ambassador ejections from Moscow, Chernobyl, the Soviet Afghan war to the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is as thrilling as it is unpredictable and the last 20 30% of the book is a perfectly nail biting race to its conclusion At almost 300,000 words oood is an
Detailed and knowledgeable, but perhaps a little overlongAt 766 pages this is quite a long novel, but the characters are richly formed and keep you wanting to find out what happens in the end.The author does deliver huge detail to the daily life of an American spy in Moscow and East Berlin in the 80 s including the boring stuff such as report writing They also give good insight into counter surveillance routines, dead letter drops and the like as well as period detail of 80s Moscow and Berlin However, this is not the classic spy novel in so much the key characters are in a gay relationship Whilst you may think this makes the book a m m romance it does add an extra level of secrecy that needs to be kept against the background of prejudice and the AIDS epidemic As previous reviewers have said, the sex is quite graphic, but is essential to the main character development and
I am pleased that I was lucky enough to read this powerful historical novel with beautiful, captivating figurative language M.K South, the author Of Our Own Device, managed to draw a faithful picture of the USSR during the last years of its life and of my own childhood, a childhood which happened to fall neatly into the post Soviet era I was born in 1977, and my school years stretched from 1984 until 1995 Even though, frankly speaking, I m not a big fan of those historical events that include the Chernobyl disaster, the period of Perestroika and the Soviet War in Afghanistan, a full picture of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries turned out to be exciting and believable And I ll say I m a little sorry that this novel doesn t belong to my pen This fascinating love story, unfolding against the background of the historic events that are sweeping the world, kept me deeply engrossed with thrilling suspense, intriguing espionage and heartbreaking moments The book is a mash up of a thriller, romance, and historical novel Each character is so well depicted you will feel, not only like you know them intimately, but you can visualize them right off the pages The characters reach out and pull you in I was very sorry when the book ended, as I wanted it to go on and on I could share of the plot with you, but I don t want to be a spoiler This book will entertain yo
I will be honest I am having the hardest time writing this review Not because the book was bad Far from it But because there is just so.much The biggest problem I had with this book is just that the writing got..slow There would be action and you would get into it and then BAM tons of information that made me have to put the book down for a few One thing you need to know is this is NOT a romance by any means This book takes place in the middle of a crucial time in history And although it is fiction, there is a lot of non fiction and if you were alive then, a lot of things you might remember happening I was too young at the time to really know what AIDS meant and what it meant to be gay in that time frame, but I do remember the uproar And it s sad to say in all the advancement it s still hard for the lgbt community In this book, for Jack it was impossible.Jack was a spy for the CIA and deep undercover He was also gay Although after reading this I often wondered if he was bi than gay Jack has a lot he has to do as far as being an agent And he has to hide that part of himself Jack s character, I felt for him so many times He is never free to be himself Ever He is caught up in so many things sometimes I think he doesn t even know who he really is any Definitely a hard life to lead Then he meets Eton, who the CIA wants to recruit But Jack isn t sure who,with Eton and his friends, are with the KGB And Jack is about half in love from the moment they meet