"A rare act of sympathetic imagination and historical reconstruction, sustained to the very last page." Phillip Lopate
This is the story about a spy. And a spy, by definition, lies. So how to write the life of a spy Eschewing the confines of traditional biography and inverting the glamour of espionage, acclaimed biographer Millicent Dillon blends fact and fiction to chronicle the human drama of Harry Gold, the American chemist who becomes a Soviet spy.
Dillon has researched Gold's outer life thoroughly, as a biographer would. She has then limned his inner life to create a profound and compelling character study of a self-described "little man" who personifies the larger symbolism of this complex era in American history.
In casting Gold's story as a novel, Dillon creates a gripping narrative from the true events of political life in America from the 30s through the McCarthy era, from Gold's recruitment to his training in tradecraft to his role in Julius Rosenberg's and Klaus Fuchs's atomic espionage at Los Alamos. The result is a novel with the psychological depth of Graham Greene's The Third Man, the taut pacing of All the President's Men, and moral poignancy of Phillip Roth's I Married A Communist.
A 2001 PEN/FAULKNER AWARD NOMINEE AND A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
"[Millicent Dillon] has created a wondrous and strange work of art. On the surface, her novel is placid, but she's a patient, thoughtful writer whose writing rewards patience and thoughtfulness-and rereading . . . a true literary achievement." Ron Perlstein, The New York Observer
"Dillon quotes Gold's lawyer, John M. Hamilton, as saying: 'I come here to explain a crime and not to excuse one. I come here to state a case and not to plead one.' Dillon follows this lead by tracing Gold's story in precise and subdued prose, and combining her factual knowledge of his life with imagined detail and poetic texture . . . Harry Gold is a fascinating and original book." Elena Lappin, The New York Times Book Review
"Dillon's considerable imaginative powers come into play rendered in a shifting strangeness of phrase, image, and perception that is masterfully controlled." Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
Millicent Dillon is the author of You Are Not I: A Portrait of Paul Bowles, A Little Original Sin: The Life and Work of Jane Bowles, and After Egypt: Isadora Duncan and Mary Cassat and three works of fiction, The Dance of the Mothers, The One in the Back is Medea, and Baby Perpetua and Other Stories. She is the editor of The Viking Portable Paul and Jane Bowles. She lives in San Francisco.