An Expensive Education, By Nick McDonell

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The Independent Culture

Former US teenage prodigy McDonell certainly aims high and tries hard in this third novel. Not content with a campus satire about a celebrity liberal professor at Harvard and her bemused Somali student (and his parody-Scottish chum), he recruits a young CIA agent, a legendary guerrilla leader in the Horn of Africa and rumours of bloody deeds in faraway lands. ?

This Greene-Le Carré strand never quite knits with the Ivy League imbroglios (McDonell's forte), and feels like a grafted-on bid for global-issue credibility. That said, the action rattles along in swift, efficient, if strangely bloodless prose: a screenplay in embryo