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Loose Lips: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 2004
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About the Author
For more information on Claire Berlinski, go to www.berlinski.com
From the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This novel is no mere roman à clef. Berlinski's portrayal of Selena Keller as a woman with no sense of personal mooring, adrift in a world that lacks remorse, is positively brilliant. This is because, in Selena's quest for certainty, she turns for safe harbor to the CIA, home to deception, lies, and duplicity. What a clever paradox. So as Selena Keller becomes more certain about some items (the ability to drive a car, to recognize location and position, even increasing her awareness to the external environment about her), she becomes more uncertain about others (relationships in particular: between friends, between lovers, between sexes, between employers and employees, etc).
Truth plays a central role in this novel, as both metaphor and simile, and arguably, as this novel's central protagonist. (NB: the many aphorisms.) For all Selena does learn, she remains confused, lost. In some senses, it is odd that Selena fails to recognize how two key people physically change to achieve their objectives (good spycraft?), even though she notes the actual changes without speculating on their true motivations. For example, near the novel's end, she helps two friends reconcile their relationship, but to achieve this, she has each assume a role not in keeping with who they truly are. The two lovers do get together, but at what cost to themselves and their relationship?
This novel's coda provides the fireworks for the more literary-minded readers.Read more ›
The bottom line is that what the author writes seems to me to be real enough that I'm left wondering who she might have talked to in order to get the insight that she displays in the book. I find myself thinking that this book might be a thinly disguised autobiographical account since the dust jacket is a little bit skimpy on details about where she's worked.
In any case, if anyone wants to know what the classic type of intelligence officer (not "spies") does for a living and what it takes, "Loose Lips" is the book to read. I wouldn't be surprised if I see it show up at the CIA giftshop. I've seen other novels there.
My only gripe is that the book was so good I wanted the story to last longer than it did and show the heroine in the field. If Berlinski wrote like Tom Clancy or Stephen King, a five or six hundred page long book would be way too long. But given her outstanding writing at under 300 pages, "Loose Lips" is too short. But then again, perhaps that's an application of the principal of always leaving your audience wanting more.
In terms of material density, for Pete's sake, this is a fiction novel not a biography or a textbook. Did you expect to learn about the secret operations of the Federal Reserve or about the political conflicts in Turkmenistan? Some people will never stop trying to squeeze water out of a stone. You want to learn something more in-depth; fiction is not an all-encompassing source.
Also I have a problem with classifying this as chick lit. Only because it was written by a woman, about a woman doesn't mean it can only appeal to women. Berlinski used such an immaculate, spicy humor and wraped it in a layer of juicy espionage that it can easily cater to both genders.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lame story. Writing style fine, but incredibly uninspiring story. Recommended by an organization I respect, glad it wasn't recommended by a friend.Published 4 months ago by Aaron Bludworth
This is the first time I have read this author. I saw the book while I was in DC and thought it was interesting. Read morePublished on December 27, 2012 by Terry Pezick
Berlinski is an excellent writer. It isn't easy to write so much wit into a novel without overdoing it but she did it masterfully. Read morePublished on February 7, 2012 by Greg Cook
Fast-paced writing, romance, mystery: a look at life within the secret service, written in novel form. Read morePublished on February 17, 2011 by an apt word
The variation in reader reviews in response to this book is striking. Of those giving low ratings, some seemed to be looking for a CIA adventure/procedure tale and were irritated... Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by Snapperblue
Claire Berlinski is among the most engaging writers on the planet. Seriously. She has a talent for dialog; for funny, quotidian absurdities; for drawing out details during her... Read morePublished on November 30, 2010 by Mark Hammitt
This novel about America's most clandestined society is stimulating to reader's who want to know, understand and teledepth into the secrets and movements of the CIA. Read morePublished on October 24, 2010 by Lancelot du Lac
This book was so interesting! It shows a different, more personal side to the CIA. All of my assumptions are shaken! The main character feels very real and relatable.Published on September 29, 2010 by Trang Phan
Claire Berlinski has created a delightful, delicious, and compelling spy story filled with hilarious and wry observations. Read morePublished on May 18, 2010 by Jonathan