Friday, March 15, 2013

"Open Secret" - Stella Rimington

Ian McEwan's "Sweet Tooth", recently reviewed here, was surely much influenced by Stella's autobiography. McEwan's Serena Frome is a kind of anti-Stella, someone born on the right side of the tracks but without Stella's grit and commitment.

Two things stand out: there was, and is, so much misogyny out there (the Met are the worst); and Stella has had the worst luck with her accommodation - decades of living with the builders, flooding, burglaries and freezing cold.

Getting this book published was a nightmare, but it's been a few years now and the controversy over this security-wise anodyne book now looks completely overwrought. Sadly, its very discretion sucks the life out of the text - the truly interesting aspects of Rimington's life are just those things she couldn't mention.