Read Mamista by Len Deighton Free Online
Book Title: Mamista|
The author of the book: Len Deighton
Edition: Arrow Books
Date of issue: 1991
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.47 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2413 times
Reader ratings: 6.4
ISBN 13: 9780099104919
Read full description of the books:
Originally published on my blog here in February 2005.
Written in between Bernard Samson novels, MAMista is Len Deighton's first attempt to find a new subject for his fiction, following the end of the Cold War in Europe. MAMista ends up being one of Deighton's most radically non-typical novels, most like Close Up from the rest of his output in lots of ways - and that too was a novel written at a time when he was searching for a way forward as a writer. Another novel which is even more similar, though not by Deighton, is John le Carré's The Little Drummer Girl.
The subject of MAMista seems exceptionally up to date now, rather more so than it did at the time. It is about a terrorist group (or freedom fighters, as they would term themselves) in a poor country in South America where the main economic activity is the cultivation of coca leaves. Three outsiders become either MAMista members or effectively hostages, and the backbone of the story is the description of a terrible trek through the jungle after a raid. At the time, it felt as though Che Guevara was three decades behind the times, but now terrorism is back at the centre of our consciousness, even if not in South America.
The most important thing to say about MAMista is that it is not really a thriller, but a tragedy. There is no hope of a happy ending for anyone but the members of the oppressive regime in this novel, which makes it definitely Deighton's most downbeat. The connection with Close-Up lies mainly in not being in the thriller genre, but the parallels with The Little Drummer Girl are in the storyline, as both plots are about terrorists and hostages. So Deighton's first response to the end of the Cold War was to move out of the thriller genre almost completely, to write a mainstream novel with some of the trappings of a thriller.
It has to be said that MAMista is not one of Deighton's best novels, though it grows on one on repeated reading. None of the characters are particularly engaging, and the tone of the narrative is relentlessly cheerless, lacking the cynical humour usually characteristic of the author. This means that it doesn't hold the attention as this sort of project really should, particularly as the storyline lacks the urgency and forward motion of a thriller (and this slowness is presumably intended, as it mirrors the confusion and pointlessness of the guerilla campaign).
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Read information about the authorDeighton was born in Marylebone, London, in 1929. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook.After leaving school, Deighton worked as a railway clerk before performing his National Service, which he spent as a photographer for the Royal Air Force's Special Investigation Branch. After discharge from the RAF, he studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1949, and in 1952 won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1955.
Deighton worked as an airline steward with BOAC. Before he began his writing career he worked as an illustrator in New York and, in 1960, as an art director in a London advertising agency. He is credited with creating the first British cover for Jack Kerouac's On the Road. He has since used his drawing skills to illustrate a number of his own military history books.
Following the success of his first novels, Deighton became The Observer's cookery writer and produced illustrated cookbooks. In September 1967 he wrote an article in the Sunday Times Magazine about Operation Snowdrop - an SAS attack on Benghazi during World War II. The following year David Stirling would be awarded substantial damages in libel from the article.
He also wrote travel guides and became travel editor of Playboy, before becoming a film producer. After producing a film adaption of his 1968 novel Only When I Larf, Deighton and photographer Brian Duffy bought the film rights to Joan Littlewood and Theatre Workshop's stage musical Oh, What a Lovely War! He had his name removed from the credits of the film, however, which was a move that he later described as "stupid and infantile." That was his last involvement with the cinema.
Deighton left England in 1969. He briefly resided in Blackrock, County Louth in Ireland. He has not returned to England apart from some personal visits and very few media appearances, his last one since 1985 being a 2006 interview which formed part of a "Len Deighton Night" on BBC Four. He and his wife Ysabele divide their time between homes in Portugal and Guernsey.
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