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The Secret Life

Three True Stories
Narrated by: Robin Laing
Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
4 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Summary

Andrew O'Hagan issues three bulletins from the porous border between cyberspace and the 'real world.'

'Ghosting' introduces us to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose autobiography the author ghostwrites with unforeseen consequences.

'The Invention of Ronnie Pinn' finds the author using the identity of a deceased man to construct an entirely new one in cyberspace.

Finally, 'The Satoshi Affair' chronicles the strange case of Craig Wright, the Australian web developer who may or may not be the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin.

©2017 Andrew O'Hagan (P)2017 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"What a brilliantly versatile writer Andrew O'Hagan is, [...] (he) pulls the threads of his narrative together with consummate skill. It is beautifully done." ( The Mail on Sunday on The Illuminations)
"A triumph in words." ( The Independent on Sunday on The Missing)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great listen, well written and narrated

I enjoyed this book immensely. Don't have time to write a proper review but get and listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Two thirds great..

Very much enjoyed the first two parts, but found the third a bit confusing and that failed to hold my interest.

The Assange story was a really fascinating insight on this complex and controversial character. Without it becoming a 'kiss and tell' kind of thing, it did confirm my suspicion that JA is, Iike many very clever people, at core, an unlikeable character. O'Hagen ghosting his autobiography gave him the chance to act like a contrary starlet, but starring and directing his own movie. He is casually cruel to those around him, and massively narcissistic and clearly a total pain to work with, (or as Assange would see it, work for.)

The creation of Ronnie Pinn was equally absorbing and I listened to both of these in one day. (Lockdown). What a great idea to see how far you can go in making a person become real in a digital form, talking this decade of 'fake' to a new level. This was scarey and exciting, but like watching a car crash, I wanted to know more.

The third part didn't hit the mark with me. I couldn't keep up with who was who as the computer scientists all seemed a bit beige in real life, and displayed none of the unpredictable dangerous intreague of Assange. What they created was huge and exciting, but as people, they were more brooding and miserable and far less entertaining.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Three stories in this 1 book - enjoyable.

Three stories comprise this short book: one is about Julian Assange, the second is a figment of the author's created fake online profile Ronald Pinn - explaining how it is possible to create a fully functional identity online. Third story is about block-chain and bitcoin and its possible creator Craig Wright.

Really enjoyable and easy listen, definitely a go!