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The Bathtub Spy (Kindle Single) by [Rachman, Tom]
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The Bathtub Spy (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Length: 15 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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: 103 KB
  • Print Length: 15 pages
  • Publication Date: August 18, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I57MXK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,583 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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