Spook Country

  • by William Gibson
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Tito is in his early 20s. Born in Cuba, he speaks fluent Russian, lives in one room in a NoLita warehouse, and does delicate jobs involving information transfer. Hollis Henry is an investigative journalist, on assignment from a magazine called Node. Node doesn't exist yet, which is fine; she's used to that. But it seems to be actively blocking the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they start up. Really actively blocking it. It's odd, even a little scary, if Hollis lets herself think about it much - which she doesn't. She can't afford to. Milgrim is a junkie. A high-end junkie, hooked on prescription antianxiety drugs. Milgrim figures he wouldn't survive 24 hours if Brown, the mystery man who saved him from a misunderstanding with his dealer, ever stopped supplying those little bubble packs. What exactly Brown is up to Milgrim can't say, but it seems to be military in nature. At least, Milgrim's very nuanced Russian would seem to be a big part of it, as would breaking into locked rooms. Bobby Chombo is a "producer" and an enigma. In his day job, Bobby is a troubleshooter for manufacturers of military navigation equipment. He refuses to sleep in the same place twice. He meets no one. Hollis Henry has been told to find him.

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What the Critics Say

"Gibson's fine ninth novel offers startling insights into our paranoid and often fragmented, postmodern world....Compelling characters and crisp action sequences, plus the author's trademark metaphoric language, help make this one of Gibson's best." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

More characters--a superior novel!

I enjoyed William Gibson's previous novel, Pattern Recognition, but I felt as if there was something missing. Now I know what that was--in Spook Country, Gibson goes back to multiple points of view. We get to know several characters, instead of just one, with excellent results.

I have always read Gibson for his visual prose style and his speculations on modern life. But getting inside characters' heads may be what he does best. This go-round we get Hollis Henry, a former singer who's now a reporter; Milgrim, a very intellectual addict; and Tito, a sort of mafia apparatchik with a surprisingly spiritual outlook.

Hollis offers an interesting perspective on what it's like to be a former celebrity--if indeed she is still a former celebrity and not a current one. People still recognize her, yet her band is no longer together and she worries about her bills. Tito is at peace within himself although his circumstances are often uncertain.

Milgrim, however, is worth the price of the book. Frequently left to his own devices by the brutish Brown, he ponders philosophical questions, or reads an arcane book on medieval heresies. However, as an addict, he must remain practical, and the resulting mental balancing act had me laughing out loud on the bus.

All three are involved in a "caper" plot that, unlike some in previous Gibson novels, unfolds methodically, without feeling forced or rushed at the end. I wouldn't call this a thriller, but you will definitely want to listen to the end. Also, there was less angst and paranoia throughout, and more of a sense of hope for the world.

The narrator does a fine job, even with female voices, and his pronunciations were excellent. The production values were quite good as well, with consistent volume and no fuzzy spots.

Highly recommended--the best Gibson I've read in quite a while.
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- Lesley "From Austen to zombies!"

Boring story, bad direction

This is certainly not Gibson at his best. I found the story boring, really. It meandered all over the place and eventually went nowhere of importance. The ending was a huge let down. I felt it was a waste of time and money.

And what the hell is with audio directors these days? This is the second book I've listened to in the past two months that had mispronunciations all over the place. I can't totally fault the narrator as they're just actors who are reading the text of someone else and may not be familiar with all the words/terms. So all I can say is that the director must've not actually been there in the studio when it was recorded.

I mean, who in the last 20 years would not know that Adidas should be pronounced "uh-DEED-uhs" and not "AHH-deed-dahs"?

Skip this one and find something more intriguing to spend your time with.
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- Hunter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-05-2007
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio