Saturday, March 8, 2014

James Bond meets Indiana Jones

As a big fan of the spy genre, The Eiger Sanction really is quite fun to read.  I think Trevanian does an excellent job blending fast-paced action with just seething satire of intelligence agencies.  Trevanian writes in such a matter-of-fact way that leaves the reader wondering if a particular scene was meant to be taken seriously, and I love the main character John Hemlock.  He is a complete mash up of suave James Bond and collector/historian Indiana Jones and it works.  Trevanian's supporting cast of characters, like Mr. Dragon the albino, or the mysterious Jemima are straight out of a James Bond movie.  Honestly you could pick any James Bond movie, and there would be character's like this.  However, I don't think this takes away from Trevanian's story at all, it only adds to the satirical nature of the story.

Also adding to the satirical nature of the novel is the fact that Trevanian isn't the author's real name, it is just a pen name!  His real name is Rodney Whitaker, and he also wrote novels under three different pen names.  Thankfully, this is fiction, so we don't need to trust whether he is telling a "true" story or not, since we know it is made up.  As for how this novel qualifies as an adventure narrative, I think that its pretty straight forward.  Hemlock is not only an assassin who kills people to afford black market paintings, but he is also an experienced, perhaps legendary, mountain climber.  Because this is fiction compared to nonfiction, it is much easier to qualify this novel as an adventure narrative because Hemlock's life is so far outside the norm that to the reader it couldn't be anything but adventure.  I think that for the rest of the semester, we will find that it is easier for us to define what makes a novel an "adventure" story when the story is fictional as opposed to nonfiction.

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