Tigerman

Tigerman Lester Ferris, Sergeant Of The British Army, Is A Good Man In Need Of A Rest He S Spent A Lot Of His Life Being Shot At, And Afghanistan Was The Last Stop On His Road To Exhaustion He Has No Family, He S Nearly Forty, Burned Out And About To Be RetiredThe Island Of Mancreu Is The Ideal Place For Lester To Serve Out His Time It S A Former British Colony In Legal Limbo, Soon To Be Destroyed Because Of Its Very Special Version Of Toxic Pollution A Down At Heel, Mildly Larcenous Backwater Of Course, That Also Makes Mancreu Perfect For Shady Business, Hence The Black Fleet Of Illicit Ships Lurking In The Bay Listening Stations, Offshore Hospitals, Money Laundering Operations, Drug Factories And Deniable Torture Centres None Of Which Should Be A Problem, Because Lester S Brief Is To Sit Tight And Turn A Blind EyeBut Lester Ferris Has Made A Friend A Brilliant, Internet Addled Street Kid With A Comic Book Fixation Who Will Need A Home When The Island Dies Who Might, Lester Hopes, Become An Adopted Son Now, As Mancreu S Small Society Tumbles Into Violence, The Boy Needs Lester To Be Than Just An ObserverIn The Name Of Paternal Love, Lester Ferris Will Do Almost Anything And He S A Soldier With A Knack For Bad Places Almost Anything Could Be A Very Great Deal Even Becoming Some Sort Of Hero But This Is Mancreu, And Everything Here Is Upside Down Just Exactly What Sort Of Hero Will The Boy Need

Nick Harkaway was born in Cornwall, UK in 1972 He is possessed of two explosively exciting eyebrows, which exert an almost hypnotic attraction over small children, dogs, and thankfully one ludicrously attractive human rights lawyer, to whom he is married.He likes oceans, mountains, lakes, valleys, and those little pigs made of marzipan they have in Switzerland at new year.He does not like b

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  • Paperback
  • 372 pages
  • Tigerman
  • Nick Harkaway
  • 24 February 2019
  • 9780434022885

10 thoughts on “Tigerman

  1. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  2. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  3. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  4. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  5. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  6. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  7. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  8. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  9. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

  10. says:

    If Nick Harkaway sounds like the made up name of a superhero, you re half right He is a super writer, and that comic book inspired name is the pseudonym of Nicholas Cornwell, who s the son of John le Carr , which is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, who once worked for MI5 and MI6 so who knows if any of this is actually true.Trust me, though, when I say that Harkaway s new novel, Tigerman, is an irresistible delight, something like Major Pettigrew s Last Stand as played by James Bond The plot whizzes past inventive toward ridiculously improbable, but what really makes Tigerman roar is its captivating blend of tones from the light hues of domestic comedy to the bold colors of Spider Man And Harkaway doesn t stop there Like some Marvel mad scientist, he has crossed strains of a modern day environmental crisis with the sweet story of a veteran of the Afghan war trying to adopt a little boy.Our hero so dutiful, so modest, so lonely is 39 year old Sgt Lester Ferris Scarred from battle, he s enjoying a quiet assignment as the British consul on the island of Mancreu in the Arabian Sea Since Britain handed this remote, mountainous paradise over to NATO, the sergeant s primary duty is to offer cheery hellos to the remaining residents.And there are fewer residents every month No one was Staying, Harkaway writes Staying meant dying when the island died, and then there d be nothing left to die for Decades of chemical manufacturing and careless disposal have poisoned the island In 2004, seismic movement released the first of several Discharge Clouds eruptions of caustic gas and newly formed microbes that cause frightening illnesses and birth defects Before the symbiotic bugs can spread, the world s governments decide, the island must be evacuated and sterilized by fire Mancreu became a kind of Casablanca, Harkaway writes, possessed of an uncertain legal status by virtue of the sentence of death, expropriated from its notional sovereignty by the international will, gladly yielded up to its doom, yet still there and officially claimed by no one This is the apocalypse writ small the end of the world in pressed khakis with regular tea time Or at least that s the official plan Harkaway uses this remote Superfund site to sketch the hideous underbelly of modern civilization Floating out in Mancreu s bay is the Black Fleet, unaligned ships drawn from various nations and corporations Suspended in legal limbo and about to be incinerated, the island offers a convenient spot for prisons for deniable detainees and hospitals for unethical procedures data havens, grey banks, untaxed subsidiaries floating harems and forced labour factories, auction houses for contraband goods torture facilities for hire All of that officially nonexistent horror is supposed to stay out in the bay and out of the news but early in Tigerman, while Ferris is enjoying his tea, armed bandits burst into a cafe and murder its owner Only Ferris s heroics with a biscuit tin keep the carnage from being worse In that moment, he wins the admiration of a 10 year old island native who calls himself Robin as in Batman and speaks in a curious patois of pop culture and gamer slang We are made from awesome the boy shouts while looking over the bandits bodies in the cafe Emote later Right now Voight Kampff FTW DC Comics never launched a crime fighting duo quite this touching Ferris, haunted by a ghastly aloneness which made the world black around him, is determined to show Robin that goodness prevails and to prove that he s worthy of the boy s devotion Robin, meanwhile, is a slippery orphan, desperately poor but as adept with technology as any tween in the West Determined not to look like an old fart, Ferris sits down with the boy, and together they page through his comics collection, designing their own superhero The resulting figure Tigerman is an absurd amalgamation of metal shields, a gas mask and bits of fur and bone but no gun When he tries to talk, Ferris sounds like a kazoo, but that s not what Robin hears It was made and designed by the House of Awesome, the boy declares, from materials found in the deep awesome mines of Awesometania, and it would be recorded in the Annals of Awesome In the novel s most touching parts, Harkaway captures the wonder of youthful enthusiasm, what we used to feel when making a fort from a refrigerator box or launching water balloons with giant rubber bands But he sets all that childhood frivolity in the context of a rapidly collapsing society The sergeant s great challenge and the novel s is somehow to satisfy the boy s thirst for justice while combating an increasingly violent series of crimes to show what one man one hero could do on a dark night in a town on the edge Since the British government insists that Ferris remain uninvolved in this mess, the bizarre costume comes in handy for disguising his mild mannered identity, confusing his superstitious combatants and infusing himself with otherworldly energy Indeed, in several spectacular scenes spiked with explosives and wit, Tigerman performs crazy feats of derring do that Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne could only dream of Are you paying attention, Hollywood But even with bullets ricocheting and rockets flying, what really terrifies the man inside the Tigerman costume is the thought of losing Robin Ferris has no direct experience with the violent woes and self reproaches of children, and he has no language with which to express his affection Harkaway, though, finds the words to make those feelings clear.Just as it s easy for the residents of Mancreu to forget the Black Fleet in the bay, it s easy for us to ignore the darker currents of this novel The touches of sentimentality, Ferris s awkward romance with an island scientist, the sweet comedy of an accomplished soldier disarmed by a 10 year old child these elements lull us into imagining that Tigerman must eventually curl up into some predictably warm embrace.But Harkaway is a far tougher storyteller than that, and the battle in which Ferris and Robin are engaged is ultimately no comic book fantasy, just as a poisoned island is no paradise You won t see the next punch coming A proven track record of insane idealism can t help a man leap tall buildings in a single bound or make evil governments behave But that doesn t keep this brave sergeant from trying Sure, any kid would want to be Tigerman In the end, though, Ferris is the real hero worth emulating Originally published in The Washington Post

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