The Disinformer: Two Novellas

Peter Ustinov, Author Arcade Publishing $14.95 (133p) ISBN 978-1-55970-031-3
Two ironic novellas make up this slim volume by the versatile actor and author ( The Loser ). The tautly written title story concerns Hilary Glasp, a disgruntled former espionage agent. After a car bomb explodes in London, Glasp makes anonymous calls taking credit for the attack in the name of a nonexistent terrorist organization. Real terrorists are drawn in and Glasp finds himself back in the thick of action. Though Ustinov skewers ``the English administrative mind, with its affectation of ignorance and cultivation of distance in the face of emotional or violent behavior,'' dogged Inspector Mudgeon is wilier than Glasp. The dark farce ends with Glasp caught in his own trap, stoically contemplating a future on the run. Not as effective as the first story, ``A Nose by Any Other Name'' concerns the daughter of a Kurdish couple living in New Jersey, where the father teaches at a small college. Irritated by her parents' intellectual pretensions and proprietary attitude about her life, Thamar Atoulia decides to get rid of her ethnic nose (the genetic gift of both parents) via plastic surgery. Here Ustinov's tone is too arch and his farcical depiction of the unctuous Atoulias and their rebellious daughter too broad. The O. Henry-like ending of his cautionary tale is predictable early on. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Hardcover - 978-0-385-25224-9
Hardcover - 978-0-517-09702-1
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