FACE ME WHEN YOU WALK AWAY by Brian Freemantle


Email this review


Brian Freemantle -- if you remember and you should -- wrote Goodbye to an Old Friend which applied a tattletale grey tone to the world of counterintelligence you know so well from Le Carre -- a referral almost every reviewer made. This time the terrain is a little different -- political prestige is involved at the highest level of image-making and face-saving when a peasant writer Nikolai is about to have the opportunity Solzhenitsyn ducked -- a Nobel prize, and Josef Bultova is retrieved from a Soviet concentration camp (just before he attempts suicide -- a fact he can't forget along with his attachment to one man there, a Jew) because of his cultural connections around the world. Thus Josef monitors Nikolai on a luxurious tour of universal recognition, not noticing at first his frailties, until they reach the U.S. where Nikolai -- as a heroin addict/homosexual -- is a disaster. Only slowly proceeding from indirection to exposure is another parallel cycle of seduction and corruption, guilt projected, deflected and ultimately revealed. . . . A thoughtful audit of betrayal with surprises here, reverses there, which you will read with a sustained sense of expectation, admirably fulfilled. Nothing showy -- mind you -- but you won't walk away.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Putnam