Surveillance: A Novel

Surveillance A Novel Lucy Bengstrom lives in Seattle with her year old daughter Alida When she is asked to write about August Vanagas a reclusive international bestselling author Lucy becomes intrigued by his story

  • Title: Surveillance: A Novel
  • Author: Jonathan Raban
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 463
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Lucy Bengstrom lives in Seattle with her 11 year old daughter, Alida When she is asked to write about August Vanagas, a reclusive international bestselling author, Lucy becomes intrigued by his story of an orphan adrift in Europe in the Second World War.

    • Surveillance: A Novel BY Jonathan Raban
      463 Jonathan Raban
    • thumbnail Title: Surveillance: A Novel BY Jonathan Raban
      Posted by:Jonathan Raban
      Published :2019-05-19T09:49:33+00:00

    About " Jonathan Raban "

  • Jonathan Raban

    British travel writer, critic and novelistenpedia wiki Jonathan

  • 607 Comments

  • This book revolves around Lucy and her young daughter Alida, who live in a run-down apartment block in Seattle. Lucy is a journalist in print media who has successfully written stories on major players like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Alida's Father is no longer in their lives, having been no more than a drunken one night stand.Augie Vanags is an author who has written several books but is famous for his masterpiece, Boy 381. The book is autobiographical about his early years surviving the Holoca [...]


  • I have been putting off writing this review while trying to figure out whether I actually liked this book or not. I am still undecided and haven't reached a conclusion.This, by the way, seems to me to be the main focus of this book. As other post 9/11 books it deals with surveillnce, the limits of freedom, the 21st century habit of everyone spying on everyone, but the most original issue this book touches is the impossibility to reach conclusions. We have so much information that, ironically, we [...]


  • Let me point out a few of the things I liked before I address the big problem(s). The writing itself was really nice, dealing with complex issues so that the average reader could understand it, but not spelling it out to make you feel dumb. The characters, while not completely developed, all had flaws and more than one demension to them, thus helping you become invested in them.Now with that out of the way let me talk about the problem, which I think can be covered by one thing. The book was ver [...]


  • I thought this novel was extraordinary. Every layer, every piece, fit together tightly--even the ending, which, if you read carefully, makes perfect sense: More than one character refers to natural disasters, and the themes of infrastructures and what lurks beneath the surface run throughout. And the combination of earthquake and tsunami bring together the earth and water themes.The novel isn't science fiction, and it's not political commentary. It's about narration, about how we observe and rea [...]


  • I really dig Jonathan Raban and I really dug this book. Strong plotline, well developed characters and contemporary themes post 9/11 security paranoia and the ironic interplay between the "land of the free" and the "land of continuous surveillance and control". But are these ideas what they seem ? I think not. My personal view is that Jonathan Raban is not preaching about civil liberties and the implication that America is a totalitarian state at all. He is telling it very much in the third pers [...]


  • Finished reading this book last night. What a letdown!! Struggled through the first hundred pages of wooden characters and political cant, finally found my footing for the next 140 pages as the plot threads unfurled, got interested in what would happen, and thenBam! Raban pulls the rug out from under my feet. Not a surprise ending--an abdication of authorial duty. Had he had enough of the book? Had his fictive imagination failed him? I don't know. All I know is I felt cheated. I gave the author [...]


  • Library Book Club. It was suppose to be a possible alternative future since 9/11. This book no longer felt as topical since Osama Bin Laden's death occurred while I was reading the book. It is because the homeland security debates are still going strong on the hill. I was halfway through when I realized that nothing was happening and they only thing the kept me reading was the expectation of an ah-ha moment. No such moment occurred unless it was suppose to be the earthquake when despite all the [...]


  • Drivel! After some effort because it was a Raban book I persevered as far as page 33. Raban should stick to what he is good at - travel writing. This fictional work is written in Raban's Americanism, and neither his fiction, his words or his story rate reading.


  • Too formulaic and didactic. Half the time I felt like I was reading some scare op-ed piece about the surveillance state created since 9/11. Not nearly entertaining enough to put up with being hit over the head with that over & over.


  • First off, this wasn't at all the book I was expecting it to be. Can't remember where I came across it - on some internet site - but the way it was referenced was: Forget Orwell's 1984, read Jonathan Raban's Surveillance. So I bought it off expecting it to be some kind of dystopian-near-future-nightmare-world - or at the very least, some kind of protagonist-caught-up-in-some-kind-of-espionage-tip-of-the-ice-berg type plot.Needless to say, this is not that book. And at first I was disappointed b [...]


  • Interesting and unusual novel which takes an ironic look at the issue of security versus privacy. On the one hand there's the young kids keen to publish their every fart online. The parents of those kids, or some of them, are concerned that the state is watching their every move, and resent it yet they're perfectly willing to use Google to look anyone up and find out about them in just the same way as they resent the state being able to. The state itself undoubtedly uses turrism to justify intru [...]


  • I agree with the other reviewers who have complained that Raban seems to have gotten tired of writing this book and just stopped at 258 pages without resolving any of the issues he was exploring. I do see what he was trying to do with the ending, but when I read it, I can't help feeling that he kind of took the easy way out. That said, I enjoyed the book. When I first picked it up I thought it was going to be about the implications of living in a surveillance state, but the book really dealt muc [...]


  • Passed onto me by two friends, both of them gave up after the first two chapters, but I thought, oh it can not be that bad. Yes, it was. Should have listened, I wasted my time reading this, no ending, no final, a book you pick up and throw against the wall with frustration that time, was wasted.Story, America is under a "big daddy is watching you" period. Illegal immigrants everywhere, cyber terrorists, etc. etc. Story is on a writer who is to do an article on a boy raised in Nazi Germany, or wa [...]


  • Opens with a bang, literally, as Homeland Security films an attack video in near-future Seattle for a public safety film (uh huh, we believe that right away). Lucy, single mom and freelancer, is tasked to score an interview witha professor who is enjoying critical success for his memoir as an orphan in post-WWII Europe. Lucy lies to get the interview, winds up befriending the guy, and then discovers he might have made it all up. Meanwhile, lucy's neighbor may be dying of AIDS while developers at [...]


  • I was all set to give this four stars--the characterization was tight, the plot moved quickly, and the social commentary on living in a surveillance society was timely and non-hysterical. "'We are all spooks'", says one of the characters, and it is an apt statement. The daughter tracks her mother's alcohol intake, the mother investigates the autobiographical story of a writer she's doing a profile on, the next door neighbor runs down information on the new owner of their apartment building, and [...]


  • Jonathan Raban (Bad Land; Passage to Juneau; Waxwings, ***1/2 Nov/Dec 2003) uses a what-if scenario in his latest novel to examine our nation's most pressing concerns and vulnerabilities. While most critics enjoyed Surveillance, a few noted some problems: the characters that serve as mouthpieces for various political views; the preachy dialogue about freedom, democracy, and civil liberties; and the heavy-handed themes. Still, critics found the characters and their relationships convincing (Tad e [...]


  • The story is based in Seattle which I thought would be fun to read but, after about the 20th mention of something familiar, it almost became annoying to read about the local venues. Almost as if the story was written around making sure to mention as many places as possible. Odd charactersrange things happening in the city and then the end was totally disappointing. Would not recommend.Interestingly, in my book club I was the only one who did not like it. Some of the comments, "it reminded me tha [...]


  • Wow! What was this guy thinking? A slow start to the story but then a nice flow picks up and a decent storyline develops and then what?Also, I didn't really get the whole tie-in to how this storyline fit in with the new surveillance that the author continually refers to during this new era being always on guard against terrorists and the loss of privacy as part of the price for that. That in itself can make for a good book I'm sure. However with the way it's written into this story.well the titl [...]


  • I'm intrigued by the number of unfavorable reviews of this book, as the reason I'm putting it on my to-read list is that a bookstore employee whose opinion I respect recommended it because she thought it was really well paced and has a completely satisfying ending. We were talking about how many contemporary books we've read lately that we liked well enough, but couldn't quite love because the authors didn't seem to know quite how to end them. She specifically told me to check out Surveillance b [...]


  • An unusual book. I found it quite gripping and really got to like the characters especially Alida and Augie. The paranoia after 9/11 is carefully developed and as the surveillance culture grows the book becomes more interesting. The very sudden ending is disappointing. It is so abrupt that I had to ask myself why? I suppose he is saying that no matter how much surveillance you have, you are never out of danger which can come from anywhere, in any form and at any time. Nevertheless it left the st [...]


  • I planned on giving this book a 5 just based on how much it hooked me, but I just finished it and it simply ended, no closure what so ever. Not that he didn't close everything he didn't close anything. Almost as if there is a part 2 floating around. I don't care for to be continued in the least bit. All that being said he did an amazing job with his characters, I want to know more about all of them.Did Tad die?Was August a fraud?Did the building get demolished?What did Aidia do with the $1mm?Did [...]


  • Like most of Raban's work, this is set in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle. This one deals with aftermath: not just of 9/11, but of other crises, one in the form of a WWII war orphan (now an old man). In the Age of Paranoia (there are several references to Green Day's "American Idiot" album!) everyone struggles for safety, but the main point of the book is that a crisis can happen any time, any where, with or without warning, and that such things don't care about interrupting the plot [...]


  • I am not advanced enough to give this book a rave review. Raban only received the second star because his character development was so well done. When I got to the last fifty pages or so I began wondering how he would wrap everything up and I was sad to see he did not. I furiously scoured the internet looking for a sequel to this lovely beginning of a story. So well written. Poor follow through.


  • Unlike other readers, I actually quite enjoyed this book. However, there were a couple slow sections - and the ending absolutely sucked. It wrapped nothing up nicely, and really didn't even make sense in regards to the rest of the novel. The author definitely seemed to lose interest in the story, and decided to end it abruptly. I wish he would have spent a couple more chapters wrapping things up - I would have liked to know what happened to the characters.


  • It has good writing, and I even enjoyed reading it, but by the end and even throughout I was asking myself, "so what?". There is a lot going on that is never resolved in terms of the plot and the book never makes a stand on any of its themes. The fact that it doesn't lay out one idea as better is both good and bad. Without having having one of the ideas be better it lacks somewhat of a focus, but at the same time allows the reader to think for themselves.


  • Meh. This book was very character driven and did not resolve itself. It initially appears to end abruptly. But if you look at it from the perspective of the "government" preparing for something out of the ordinary happening instead of for the expected, then it does not seem to be as abrupt. Since it is about surveillance and not feeling safe, it is appropriate that it leaves you feeling unsettled about the ending. Nevertheless, not very satisfying.


  • Edgy, engrossing, amusing, menacing. Starts and ends with a bang. Nothing is what it seems; or is it? Some answers aren't supplied, but that's intentional: the world we're now living in seldom supplies answers. I binged on Jonathan Raban's travel writing in the 80s and much enjoyed his first two novels. This one's the best yet; I didn't want it to end.


  • A sorta sequel to Waxwings. Disturbing. Set in the near future, in a world ruled by security theater, where paranoia rules. Or maybe everyone is perfectly normal. Or maybe a fraud. Nothing is answered, nothing is resolved. Everything is left hanging as the book ends in a great reverse deux ex machina.


  • Good start, but the end is just stupid. It resolves itself in an earthquake which just seems cheap. Lots of fun with paranoia, possible memoir hoaxing, etc. Not sure what I thought of the Chinese immigrant character- I wasn't quite convinced he wasn't a cruel caricature, but perhaps that wasn't intentional.


  • I didn't feel the promised 'menace' of the surveillance society – when the real world is throwing up stories that are stranger than fiction, this felt fairly pedestrian in comparison. It was very well written though, and there were some interesting plot threads. It felt unfinished; not concluded. I guess that was the point, but I wanted something more.


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