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The Bathtub Spy (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Tom Rachman
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Returning to America after years abroad, Paul Tregwynt takes work at an intelligence agency near the Pentagon, translating wiretaps for decorated military officers and desk-jockey spies. But life in espionage turns strange when his boss gives him a book and an order: read this.

Tom Rachman is the bestselling author of The Imperfectionists, a novel set at a struggling newspaper in Rome. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Slate, The International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. He lives in London.

Editorial Reviews Review

Tom Rachman’s offbeat but tender Kindle Single, "The Bathtub Spy," tells the tale of globetrotting teacher-turned-“cubicle monkey” Paul Tregwynt and his boss, Wayne. Wayne is a “bumbler” and “a show-off” who spends his days playing Solitaire on his computer, assaulting underlings with a chewed-up Nerf football, and probably watching Office Space with a notepad in hand. This wouldn’t be so alarming if his responsibilities didn’t include overseeing translators--like Paul--who monitor wiretaps for an intel agency in D.C. There’s more to this miscreant “manager” than meets the eye, however, and much to Paul’s (initial) annoyance, he and Wayne have more in common than he’d like to admit. Tom Rachman has already proven to be one to watch with the release of his acclaimed debut novel, The Imperfectionists. I spy another winner in this Kindle Single.--Erin Kodicek  

Product Details

  • File Size: 127 KB
  • Print Length: 15 pages
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I57MXK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,169 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good story for bibliophiles August 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this story. It did have some good moments. It is the story of a man who lives in Washington DC doing translation work who deals with an unbearable boss. Minor spoiler here but it turns out his boss actually loves literature. It took me all of about 15 minutes to read this so this is much shorter than most of the Kindle shorts I have read.

The story didn't move me as much as I would have liked for a literary work but it did have its moments. I liked how the author explained how our feelings for imaginary characters can be more important to us than real people. I loved how the main character's opinion of his boss changes after a bad book recommendation. I have felt the same way when it has happened to me. It was a good diversion for a few minutes but I don't think that I will be thinking of the story in a years time.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing without even a hint of intrigue August 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sliced, diced and cubed - after spending most of his life abroad teaching English (Mexico, Peru, Japan, Saudi Arabia) Paul Tregwynt, 53, is back in the United States where he now inhabits a nondescript cube in a gray, windowless D.C.-area high-rise while working as a translator for a intelligence agency, a spook house, three Metro stops past the Pentagon.

After almost a lifetime as a foreigner in strange lands, he now feels more of an alien than he ever did overseas. He is surrounded by geeky nobs, members of the spy community who play cloak-and-dagger by giving false names when ordering out for pizza.

The spies in this romp of a story spend more time playing computer solitaire and cutting up with a Nerf ball than they do spying. There's a saying where he works that, "You can spot the extroverts here because they look at your shoes instead of theirs." Tregwynt wonders if the War on Terror is one waged between opposing sides of nitwits.

Tregwynt who is six feet, five inches long spends hours and hours of his free time scootched into a too-small bathtub thinking and reading but mostly reading short stories in French or more recently Russian novels foisted upon him by his super-geek team leader Wayne Mullenbach. For Tregwynt, the bathtub is as warm and soothing as a womb. Reading in the tub for him is transporting, "This is my real life. All the rest is fiction."

Books, especially obscure Russian novels, also are a big part of his bosses' life. Whether he reads them or simply has them around for display isn't really certain. The Russian novels give boss and translator an odd connection.

The boss brings in the books and hands them to the translator with a firm directive: read this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!! August 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Excellently captured the unglamorous working world of government employees. Sucked me in to the daily grind of frustrated intel-analysts sidelined by the incompetent people running the show. Loved the caricature of military commandos with their gruff mannerisms and hilarious lingo-laden speech. Tom's vivid story-telling allowed the opportunity to laugh about experiences that usually make me grimace. Highly recommend this single-- and not only for those who have ever worked in government!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A quick short read August 31, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After reading the Imperfectionist and deciding it was the best book I read last year, I was beyond excited to see that Mr. Rachman had written a new short story. Before reading this, I thought a short story was a great idea for Mr. Rachman as really the Imperfectionist was really just a collection of shorts, albeit, brilliant ones.

I did not love this story. It was way too short to understand either characters motives. Mayeb 10 more pages and we would have understood Wayne better or even the the narrator. It was hard to have compassion for either and the "twist" came a little out of left field.

All that said, Tom Rachman is still an amazing writer. His words are chosen with such perfection that its a thing of beauty to read. Again, not a bad story, just slightly underdeveloped. Then again, if I had even an ounce of his writing abilty I would be a happy man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Spy who didn't drown in his bathtub September 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a former government agency translator myself, Bathtub made me relive my working days spent in my own cubicle; my supervisor not much different from Wayne sitting in the adjacent cub, hiding from view and avoiding involvement; colleagues whose computer screens were more familiarized with Microsoft's solitaire game than any actual work. Tom Bachman captures the office scene very well. His characterizations of Mr. Tregwynt as well as of Wayne are quite good given the scope of this short story. I didn't care much for the bathtub scenes and the presence of Connie. Both are too prominent in the story. All in all I enjoyed reading this very Washingtonean story and recommend it to other Beltway insiders.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just stops June 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Short story with no ending. Could of been the start of an interesting book. I am not sure of what the author was trying to say.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Did nothing for me! December 13, 2011
By Billie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kept thinking story would go somewhere. Then it ended and left me empty. Maybe I was expecting some action not just unhappy characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bathtub Spy October 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Paul Tregwynt spends many of his hours off in the bathtub reading. By day he's a translator of wiretaps at an intelligence agency in Washington, D.C. and by night he's a reader. His boss, Wayne, takes advantage of his own job and plays games on the computer and generally doesn't do a whole lot. He hasn't given Paul the tapes that he needs to translate and transcribe, despite being asked for them several times. Paul seemed more content when he was a translator abroad than he is now that he's back in the U.S.

Paul has been brushing up on his French by reading stories in French, but his boss, Wayne, finds out and starts bringing him Russian novels with the curt and abrupt order to "read this." Paul reads them and likes them, but he resents this intrusion into his literary life.

This is a very good story, but I keep thinking that maybe I missed something. Paul and Wayne do have something in common and I think Wayne likes Paul more than Paul thinks he does, but the story has an overall bleak feeling to it. Paul made a few decisions at the end that might bring a little more hope to him for a happier life, but I'm not sure he wants a whole lot more than he has. Sometimes we think we know what's better for another person when what that person wants isn't what we want for them. I also think there were some misunderstandings, too, as in the Starbucks co-worker's perception of Paul's intentions. There just didn't seem to be a good wrap-up of an ending.

This Kindle short kept my interest all the way through, and despite my questions it is a well-written piece. I haven't read anything else by this author, but I'd like to read his book that other reviewers have mentioned.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Too Short
This is a good and entertaining read, but it took me all of 5 minutes to get through the story. I kept trying to re-download etc... since I thought there must be more to it. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars WHERE was the real book
The book was not complete. Most of the pages were missing. What a bummer! What happened to the rest of the book.
Published 14 months ago by Duane
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but no cigar.
Worth the few minutes in the bathroom that it took to read it. The authors mind is one a would explore further with another read.
Milt Saunders
Published 18 months ago by Uncle Milty
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing....
I was disappointed after reading "The imperfectionists." I was expecting more out of it, probably my fault, it ended very soon after it began and truly failed to dazzle.
Published 20 months ago by Anna Galasso
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Loved this and hoped it was longer. Well written and and it really flowed. Highly recommend and a nice quick read.
Published 23 months ago by Don
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
This book was fun and a quick kead. I would recommend it to all. I ended up reading more books or stories by Tom Rachman.
Published on May 29, 2013 by Denise M. Jackson
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bathtub Spy
I found it enjoyable, but not memorable. This is not an unfavorable rating...Memorable is a very subjective thing. Read more
Published on March 20, 2013 by Anthony J. Saitta
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
I absolutely loved The Imperfectionists! Because of that I bought The Bathtub Spy immediately. I love what Rachman does: saying more by writing less.
Published on February 28, 2013 by Pixiechick1966
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly short yet totally captivating
I never checked the number of pages and was struck by how much I was looking forward to the story to unfold. I am left uncertain as to whether I am okay with its brevity.
Published on February 8, 2013 by Melissia L.
1.0 out of 5 stars The Bathtub Spy
A very interesting approach to working in the "spook business" as an analyst. The reader is left wondering if this was the blossom of an idea yet to be developed.
Published on January 10, 2013 by John B. Thomas
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More About the Author

Tom Rachman was born in London and raised in Vancouver. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the Columbia School of Journalism, he has been a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, stationed in Rome, and worked as an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He lives in London, where he is working on his second novel.

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