Matt Rees's Blog – April 2010 Archive (11)

Stealing the novel, really

Every couple of days a little alert pops up in my email account letting me know that I can read my books for nothing in Norwegian. My Norwegian’s not so great and I can read my books for nothing any time. But that’s not the point.

Scandinavia is a major center of so-called Cyberpunks who have willfully misinterpreted an old hacker adage that “information wants to be free” to mean “go ahead and steal things from which someone else expects to earn his livelihood.” Such Cyber… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on April 29, 2010 at 6:35pm — 1 Comment

Scribe and Scholar enter world of Hamas

Stephen Farrell was sipping coffee in the office of his money changer on Salah ud-Din Street, East Jerusalem’s main commercial strip, four years ago, when Beverley Milton-Edwards entered. From his rucksack, Farrell produced a copy of a book about Islamic militants written by the Queens University Belfast professor.

“Your book saved my life when I was kidnapped in Iraq,” he said, referring to a brief period of captivity by militants in Baghdad in 2004…

Added by Matt Rees on April 25, 2010 at 7:59pm — No Comments

My voice and his voice: first- or third-person narrative in the novel

Robert Harris has been one of my favorite authors since I first laid hands on “Fatherland,” his “what if the Nazis had won” thriller. “Enigma” and “Archangel” were even better. His first two Roman ventures “Pompei” and “Imperium” were by no means the worst books I read in the years of their publication.

Then came “The Ghost.” The story of a hack hired to ghostwrite the multi-million-dollar memoirs of a former British Prime Minister — transparently Tony…

Added by Matt Rees on April 23, 2010 at 9:00pm — 2 Comments

Bibi’s Bedtime Book: The Secret Diary of Prime Minister Netanyahu #2

I can’t believe the extent of the corruption being uncovered in Israel’s government.

My predecessor as Prime Minister moped home from vacation yesterday – without any envelopes stuffed with cash, as far as we know -- and made a weepy statement about yet another police probe into bribery and fraud and breach of trust on his part. He’s alleged to have been in cahoots with a bunch of shady property developers, lawyers and municipal officials, so that a big, tacky…

Added by Matt Rees on April 17, 2010 at 12:14am — No Comments

Stealing the novel

If there’s one thing that authoring a series of novels will teach you, it’s that you can’t wait for inspiration. But you can prompt it, give it little shocks that’ll keep it bubbling within you. Here are a few methods I use to do just that.

I travel to the places I’m writing about. I talk to people who might be similar to (or even provide the basis for) my characters. I read about them and their world. I engage in the same activities in which they…

Added by Matt Rees on April 15, 2010 at 6:13pm — 2 Comments

A who's who of Israeli corruption

JERUSALEM — The heads of all the crime families in New York used to get together every Wednesday night at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. If you were looking for an Israeli parallel, you could do worse than the gym I work out at.

The Cybex Club at the David’s Citadel Hotel has a nice view of the Ottoman walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. It’s also where the legal, political and business elite come to sweat (actually, being Israelis, they…

Added by Matt Rees on April 11, 2010 at 11:20pm — No Comments

Bibi's Bedtime Book: The Secret Diary of Prime Minister Netanyahu

No Palestinian state this week. Can't say I really know why there isn't. At this point I’d be content to sign off on anything at all, just to get it off my plate. I’ve told the Americans that, but they seem convinced I’m some kind of hardliner—they think I’m bluffing when I say “Barry, where do I sign?” I think it’s because of the way I lift my eyebrow in my official photograph. I thought it was sexy and devil-may-care, but apparently it makes me look hawkish and too clever for…

Added by Matt Rees on April 8, 2010 at 7:12pm — No Comments

The war Israelis and Palestinians plan

JERUSALEM — There’s an old Arab aphorism: “A man with a plan takes action; a man with two plans gets confused.” Apply that to the Israelis and to the Palestinians, and the nonsensical sequence of recent events in the Middle East starts to fall into a comprehensible pattern.

It’s not a pleasant pattern, because it leads to war.

First, before we get to the fireworks, let’s recap all the nonsense.


Added by Matt Rees on April 6, 2010 at 8:01pm — No Comments

Times thriller roundup: Omar Yussef 'most beguiling of current sleuths'

In this weekend's Sunday Times of London, reviewer John Dugdale describes my Palestinian detective Omar Yussef as "one of the most beguiling of current sleuths." You can read the roundup in full at Times Online, but here's the bit about my newest novel THE FOURTH ASSASSIN:

Set in a pulsating,… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on April 5, 2010 at 6:31pm — No Comments

An Islamic Romeo and Juliet

Since 9/11, writers have tried to understand the extremists committed to the destruction of the West and, often, that of their own societies in the Middle East. Most have attempted to do this by “going inside” the world of those extremists, giving us the inner life of suicide bombers or of the “American Taliban.”

It’s a worthwhile premise, because it’s aimed at comprehending people who are frequently written off as bestial, bloodthirsty psychopaths, as though…

Added by Matt Rees on April 2, 2010 at 8:05pm — No Comments

Israeli settler sect: Messiah is coming

GIVAT ONAN, West Bank—On this windblown outpost in the hills north of Jerusalem, a small fringe of Israeli settlers strives to bring the day of redemption promised, as they believe, in the Bible.

A controversial sect shunned by nearby Israeli settlements, the Brothers of Onan believe that by “spilling their seed” on the land of the ancient biblical Jewish homeland, they will hasten the coming of the Messiah. With the Israeli communities of the West Bank…

Added by Matt Rees on April 1, 2010 at 6:00pm — 1 Comment

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