Robert Harris, The Ghost

Robert Harris’ “Ghost” reminded me a lot of the anonymously published “Primary Colors”, at least during the first few chapters: Where Primary Colors is obviously a roman a clef about the Clintons, the Ghost as obviously deals with the Blairs. Wher…

Robert Harris’ “Ghost” reminded me a lot of the anonymously published “Primary Colors”, at least during the first few chapters: Where Primary Colors is obviously a roman a clef about the Clintons, the Ghost as obviously deals with the Blairs. Where Primary Colors is told from the perspective of a political aide who gets suddenly drawn into the maelstrom of primary politics, the Ghost is told from the perspective of a ghostwriter who is called in to finish the former prime minister’s memoirs (for a premium), after the previous ghost (formerly a political aide to the prime minister) has mysteriously deceased.In both novels, the narrator emerges on a journey that brings him closer to his political couple of choice than he’d ever have dreamed. But where Primary Colors tells of mostly credible abysses and explores personalities, Harris’ thriller takes its reader on a different trip, along with the ghostwriter who tries to understand his “author”: Just how far, you believe, does the special partnership between the US and the UK go? Just how little do you trust that former prime minister to have served his own country’s interests? And, just what kind of motives are you willing to accept for that? In other words, where precisely do you think Harris crosses the line from a fairly plausible roman a clef into pure, James Bond like fiction?Besides being a well-written, captivating, and entertaining thriller, the Ghost also leaves its reader with quite a bit of uneasiness. It’s a book of our times.