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American Spy: A Novel Hardcover – February 12, 2019

4.0 out of 5 stars 1,062 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An expertly written spy thriller . . . that tackles issues of politics, race and gender . . . Like the best of John le Carré, it’s extremely tough to put down. It marks the debut of an immensely talented writer who’s refreshingly unafraid to take risks, and has the skills to make those risks pay off.”—NPR

“For the novel’s engaging intelligence and serious reckoning with the world’s postwar order, Wilkinson deserves the comparisons to John le Carré she’s already receiving. But in bringing a virtually unheard-from fictional viewpoint to espionage literature, she has reinvigorated the genre.”Time

“Lauren Wilkinson’s American Spy, inspired by true events, is a thrilling, original read.”Real Simple

“It might seem hyperbolic to say that this book is riveting and thrilling from the very first page, except that it totally is. . . . It’s a refreshing take on an espionage story—No icy Russian tundra! A black female spy!—that’s sexy and suspenseful in equal measure.”—Samantha Irby, Marie Claire

“Wilkinson takes readers down a path of danger, seduction and patriotism.”Essence

“Lauren Wilkinson reminds us of a less-covered side of the Cold War with her debut set in 1986 Africa. FBI agent Marie Mitchell is stationed in Burkina Faso, and when she’s assigned to shadow Thomas Sankara, ‘Africa’s Che Guevara,’ the personal, political and professional collide for her in unforgettable ways.”The Washington Post

“A complex and powerful work . . . The espionage plot that eventually drives the action is only one component in this ambitious, multifaceted novel.”Shelf Awareness

“An excellent spy novel that is unlike every other spy novel I’ve read. . . .  This is a great read for fans of literary mystery, character driven novels, and historical fiction–especially focusing on history that never gets taught.”Book Riot

“A gutsy new thriller . . . challenging boundaries is what brave fiction does, and Wilkinson proves confident enough to carry it off.”The New York Times

American Spy updates the espionage thriller with blazing originality.”Entertainment Weekly

“[In] this genre-defying novel . . . Marie’s journey into the moral and spiritual morass of espionage is inventive . . . Unlike the heroes of John Le Carré’s novels, Marie must also grapple with the cognitive dissonance of serving a country in which she is regarded as a second-class citizen.”Vulture

“An excitingly sharp debut novel by the talented newcomer Lauren Wilkinson . . . Rest assured that American Spy will not only keep you turning the pages, it will do much more than that. Wilkinson steeps her thriller in a complicated awareness of huge, thorny themes: race, Cold War amorality, the politics of our intelligence services and the ease with which we can become complicit with deeds we actually abhor.”—NPR “Fresh Air”

About the Author

Lauren Wilkinson earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow, and has also received support from the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Wilkinson grew up in New York and lives on the Lower East Side. This is her first novel.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
  • Hardcover : 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0812998952
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0812998955
  • Product Dimensions : 6.38 x 1.07 x 9.52 inches
  • Publisher : Random House; 1st Edition (February 12, 2019)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 1,062 ratings

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4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

THE TRAVELLER
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 20, 2019
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4 people found this helpful
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AmyC
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-hyped, unevenly paced
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 22, 2020
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Criticus
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Spy Story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2020
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Marianne
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to love it but...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 7, 2020
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Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I hoped
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 19, 2020
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