Ebook review: The UnAmericans by Michael Carter

The other day an equaintance of mine sent me a book and asked if I would take a look. An equaintance seems to me a good term for a contact one has communicated with through the ether but are yet to meet. Anyhow, they are publishing The UnAmericans and the hook that initially got my interest was peaked because this is the debut novel of the author Michael Carter.

About the author: “Mike Carter has worked extensively in films, television and on stage. He played Bib Fortuna in The Return of the Jedi (Episode 6 of the Star Wars series) and has consequently been immortalised as a series of dolls ranging from one inch to two feet high. Other jobs have included white van driver, Spike Milligan’s gardener, barman, stage crew member, stage set builder, university lecturer and training video writer.
Carter gained a masters degree in psychology and trained as a counsellor. He co-wrote a film, which starred Anthony Hopkins just before he became a megastar, and has returned to screenwriting (and counselling).
The UnAmericans is his first novel.”
From the dust cover: “Max Agnew defected from the USA to Russia in the 60s, leaving behind his wife, baby and a shocked nation. Three decades later, stranded in Georgia after the Soviet Empire’s tide has washed away, Max’s past finally catches up with him..”
My Ebook review: at least to my recollection, it is a pretty unique premise for a novel. At least it seems to me that defectors tend to be left alone once they got the other side of the iron curtain, the interesting part is over. Carter has chosen to deal with the aftermath. The story then becomes one of recollection, reunion and regret to various degrees.
Max is a conflicted character and it is not certain that he would engender much in the way of empathy for his actions in the past. I am not really sure that I came to understand him or his actions but ultimately that was not the important part; that was the events that happen after the iron curtain had rusted to dust.
Carter captures the conflicts, both internal and external and the hazards of having to deal with events long past and decisions made a terrible time ago; he does it with complex language and at times a difficult to follow prose style. The style fits the plot and they sit well together in a thought provoking page turner.
So I made it all the way through this review without making any reference to the obviously interesting story of the author himself. Carter is clearly an intelligent chap and it has taken him a while to turn his hand to writing a novel and based upon this debut I can only imagine that this is only the start.


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