The Untouchable (novel)


The Untouchable (novel)

"The Untouchable" is a 1997 novel by the Irish author John Banville.

The book is a "roman à clef" written from the point of view of the homosexual, art historian, and double agent Victor Maskell — a character based on an amalgamation of the life of Cambridge spy Anthony Blunt, as well as elements from the life of Irish poet Louis MacNeice.

'The Untouchable' is both comical and poignant in its delineation of the importance of double agents in the Cold War—Maskell's revelations to the Russians largely involve information of little importance or facts that appear shortly afterwards in national newspapers. The secrecy around Blunt's homosexual personal life is depicted as a balance to his role as a spy, and when homosexuality is legalised he loses a great deal of his enjoyment of his double life.

Awards and nominations

The book was named to the New York Times Notable Books list, as well as the Library Journal Best Books list for 1997.


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