Frank Kermode

  • The Untouchable by John Banville
    Picador, 405 pp, £15.99, May 1997, ISBN 0 330 33931 1

This ought to be a good novel, for it is by a good writer and deals intelligently with a bit of British history that continues to interest us. And it certainly gives pleasure; so it seems a shade ungrateful to be asking what’s wrong with it. Is this all? Is this the best a lively imagination can make of the plight of the virtuous spy, whether wild or sober, dedicated or not, Blunt or Burgess?

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