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by nick-mcdonell
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  • Author:
    nick-mcdonell
  • ISBN:
    1848870620
  • ISBN13:
    978-1848870628
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Atlantic Books; Main edition (2009)
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1342 kb
  • ePUB format
    1528 kb
  • DJVU format
    1191 kb
  • Rating:
    4.5
  • Votes:
    390
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I loved this guy's other book, Twelve, but An Expensive Education is a real stinker

For an author whose talent was lauded at a very early age, the writing is sometimes painfully immature. He is overly expository in early going, especially when he rushes to introduce every aspect of a character upon their first appearance. I loved this guy's other book, Twelve, but An Expensive Education is a real stinker. There were 3 major problems.

Taking off at the troubled intersection of academia and realpolitik and shifting from the elite finals clubs of Harvard College and the manicured lawns of Harvard Yard to Somalia’s dusty tracks and East Africa’s high-end hotels, it is a story of corruption and love, betrayal and sudden death. Mike Teak has a classic Harvard profile.

McDonell was born in 1984 in New York City and raised there

McDonell was born in 1984 in New York City and raised there. McDonell attended the Buckley School, the Riverdale Country School, and graduated from Harvard College in January 2007. In June 2012, he received a graduate degree in International Relations from Oxford University.

An expensive education : a novel. Intelligence officers, Conspiracy. New York : Atlantic Monthly Press.

Nick McDonell's third novel takes his readers into Harvard?through its dormitories and dining halls, into its elite finals clubs and lecture halls, and within the offices of its ambitious professors?giving us an incredibly authentic.

Nick McDonell's third novel takes his readers into Harvard?through its dormitories and dining halls, into its elite finals clubs and lecture halls, and within the offices of its ambitious professors?giving us an incredibly authentic insider?s view of this illustrious university. A happily married mother of two in a tenure-track job at Harvard, she has just won a Pulitzer Prize for her book lionizing Hatashil, an East African freedom fighter. David Ayan is her singular Somali-born student. He is trying to become a member of one of Harvard's elite finals clubs.

An Expensive Education book.

McDonell evokes the clandestine machinations of the US military and the thrusting students and weary academics at Harvard with a heady verisimilitude. Quoting Graham Greene in his epigraph, the author evokes the skills of the master, with a story that sticks in the mind.

A few pages into Nick McDonell’s third novel, a young American spy stumbles across a Harvard College mug in the . Half campus novel, half geopolitical thriller, An Expensive Education proceeds at this pace for 300 almost unerringly entertaining pages

A few pages into Nick McDonell’s third novel, a young American spy stumbles across a Harvard College mug in the wreckage of a tiny Somali village. The coincidence rings as loud as gunfire: the spy, Michael Teak, is a Harvard man himself. Half campus novel, half geopolitical thriller, An Expensive Education proceeds at this pace for 300 almost unerringly entertaining pages. McDonell skips from Washington to Nairobi as easily as he crosses the river between Cambridge and Boston, usually by means of short chapters and skillful cuts, but sometimes joining his characters in the comfortable ­business-class cabins of their transcontinental flights.

An Expensive Education - Nick McDonell.

An American intelligence agent. A jetlagged afternoon on the Somalian plain. An Expensive Education - Nick McDonell. PART I. Boston, Massachusetts, 200X. The large Victorian is dark and cool, silent in the autumn night. Professor Susan Lowell lets herself in and carefully closes the front door behind her. Upstairs to check on the children she catches her reflection in the mirror in the dark hall and almost nods to herself in the silence.

An expensive education. By Nick McDonell (Atlantic £1. 9). Imagine Jay McInerney trying to write John le Carré and you have some idea of the inconsistent tone of this book, which arrives from across the Atlantic with all sorts of - frankly baffling - plaudits. By John Harding for MailOnline Updated: 11:51 EST, 5 October 2009. In England, we had the Cambridge spies; in the . according to McDonell's third novel, Harvard is the hotbed of espionage. It's at its best satirising Harvard campus life, its poisonous academic rivalries and decadent social jockeying.

Rare book

Usishele
An Expensive Education is more than the sum of its parts, which is fortunate but makes it difficult to write a review that reflects its nature. For an author whose talent was lauded at a very early age, the writing is sometimes painfully immature. He is overly expository in early going, especially when he rushes to introduce every aspect of a character upon their first appearance. The plot - a 21st-century twist on the 70s-cinema themes of political subterfuge, double-cross and nesting dolls of suspicion - is ripe for a more involved treatment than it actually receives. The characters, of which there are just a few too many, are usually little more than tools to advance the plot around three major players: a painfully unlikable caricature of a precious Harvard newspaper writer and aspiring intellectual, her African-born boyfriend who is self-aware yet still itching to assimilate, and a CIA operative whose conscience belies his mission. Of those, only David - the boyfriend, a stranger in a strange land that he years to adopt - has any measurable complexity.
Nonetheless, this story compels. In an industry overwhelmed by kiddie vampire novels, ham-fisted Brownian adventure tales and disposable serial-killer mysteries, An Expensive Education dares to raise social, political and personal questions in the context of a page-turning thriller. You're unlikely to put it down midstream, but equally unlikely to feel satisfied when it's over. Ultimately, its great shame is its vast unrealized potential - McDonell has barely scratched the surface of his own creative notions and raises a most interesting literary questions: is he bumping against the limitations of his own talent, or afraid to tread in the places where noir pulp evolves into something more interesting?
Ishnsius
Good, not great writer; the NYT critic made it seem as though the author's command of a Harvard student's jarson was special.

Plot-- many venues, interweaving different people, but so what.

Good beach reading;not going to keep you up past midnight.

not bad for a 2nd or 3rd book.
Shem
I enjoyed this book and it was fun to follow the various characters move between Harvard and Africa, If you went to Harvard (I did not) you must read this.
Molotok
Everything about this book was superficial and cynical. I did not like it at all, nor did I think that it was particularly well written. The characters were not well developed.
Nuadabandis
I may have liked this book more if the author hadn't been compared to Greene, LeCarre, Hammett, Hemingway, Barth, Bellow, Roth and Updike on the book jacket. He isn't. This is the stuff you find on the shelf at the airport or grocery store. Better written than some of it, less fun than most of it, but no better than any of it.

There are all the standard elements of pulp fiction: lots of short paragraphs for readers with short attention spans; short sentences with no big words; and cliches. Lots of cliches. So many that after reading a couple of the 69 chapters, you can close the book and write the rest of the book yourself.

All the elements are there:
Saintly guerilla fighter targeted by smart bomb,
Saintly professor and friend of saintly guerilla fighter, suddenly subject to a smear campaign,
Brilliant but gullible CIA agent, former student of saintly professor and contact to saintly guerilla fighter suddenly frozen out by the agency,
Evil National Security Advisor and Agency higher ups, popping in and out of the narrative.
Gee, who's behind it all?
You can put the pieces together more easily than a jigsaw puzzle for three year olds. Why it takes all the characters 294 pages to figure it all out is the real mystery.

Nick McDonnell will never be a Hemingway or even a Hammett, but with a little more maturity, he will be Nick McDonnell, an author of well written predictable pulp fiction.

There are plenty of candidates for the pantheon of great writers. The critics don't have to invent more of them. What we are dangerously short of in this country are intelligent critcs. Shame on you Ms. Kakutani and Messrs. Land and Yardley!
Frostdefender
I loved this guy's other book, Twelve, but An Expensive Education is a real stinker. I'm giving it 2 stars for the effort: McDonnell tried ambitiously to weave an international thriller but got all tangled up in the threads. There were 3 major problems.

1st, what McDonnell did so brilliantly in Twelve--mimicking a subculture's idiomatic excentricities--he misses entirely here. Every character basically speaks the same way and thinks about the same things: career advancement and sex. The characters all came off as cardboard cut-outs. 2nd, the focal point of the novel--Hatashil--remains a mystery throughout the novel and we never meet him--ever! It's as if Coppola decided to cut Brando out of Apocalyse Now. It just makes no sense and doesn't reward the reader for the hundres of pages of what seemed like lead-up. 3rd, the book wasn't suspensful at all--in fact, it was pretty boring. At times, I didn't know where a particular character was but I also didn't care. I knew that nothing would happen and if I kept reading he'd get on another plane and be somewhere esle to do more posturing. The 'conflict' was too abstruse and not close enough to home. Why not have the militants arrive in Cambridge and take the professor hostage? Sounds ridiculous but it sure would have held my attention better than what got published.

An Expensive Education is essentially an airport paperback masquerading as something grander. There's nothing wrong with that, I guess, except that what you get in the aiport is more interesting and less expensive.