Hand on the Shoulder

E' il titolo della nuova, bella storia di Ian McEwan, pubblicata questa settimana dal New Yorker. Deborah Treisman intervista lo scrittore: 
Your story in this week’s issue, “Hand on the Shoulder,” is about a twenty-one-year-old university student who is tapped for British secret intelligence by an older professor at Cambridge in 1972. What drew you to this subject?
It’s a very interesting period, I think—the Cold War—not only with respect to nuclear weapons and all the paranoia and suspicion in politics and the military but in the cultural sphere, too. It’s salutary to remember that the C.I.A. poured hundreds of millions into culture. For example, there was a festival of atonal music in Paris in 1950, entirely funded by the C.I.A. Can you imagine a less attractive festival? They paid for tours by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Abstract Expressionist art exhibitions. The aim was to persuade especially left-of-center European intellectuals that the United States was a powerhouse of culture, because there was a widespread assumption, so the C.I.A. believed, that Europeans thought America was just an empty-headed place of money and loudness, with no depth. So I wanted to try to construct a love story set against the background of this period—and the precise methods by which a young girl was drawn into the security service, MI5, were what fascinated me. newyorker.

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