Spies like nobody else

I’m a day late with this one, but writer Aleksander Hemon refutes some incredibly reductionist arguments about spy literature that are advanced by Frederick P. Hitz, a former CIA agent:

In the end, Hitz reaches the rather uninteresting conclusion that “no fictional account adequately captures the remarkable variety of twists and turns that a genuine human spy goes through.” Completely missing the point of fiction, Hitz’s conclusion is as limited as the ambition of his book. For the problems that important spy fiction presents to its readers are not about espionage logistics. They are primarily moral.

Hemon’s “Szmura’s Room” appears in The New Yorker this week.


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