Second Sight Essay - Critical Essays

Charles McCarry

Second Sight

SECOND SIGHT is the seventh and final novel about Paul Christopher and his family. Charles McCarry revisits characters and events from earlier books as he interweaves occurrences in the Middle East three thousand years ago, Berlin in the 1930’s, the Pacific during World War II, Vietnam in the 1950’s, and China in the 1970’s to show how the past keeps resurfacing in different guises.

The events in SECOND SIGHT take place because a tribe of Jews has lived secretly among Muslims for centuries, because a Nazi leader considers Paul Christopher’s mother to be the ideal German woman, because Paul saves David Patchen’s life during World War II, because Paul’s first wife, Cathy, is unfaithful to him, because Cathy went to school with the traitor Maria Rothchild, and because David trades a Russian agent to get Paul out of a Chinese prison.

McCarry’s story seems less farfetched than it should because of his skill as a storyteller. Expertly drawing parallels between seemingly unconnected events, McCarry makes coincidences seem almost logical. Despite nostalgia for the Cold War, a cartoonish villain of a Marxist American television journalist, and occasional errors such as thinking that major league baseball teams trade draft choices, SECOND SIGHT is a riveting entertainment.

Sources for Further Study

Atlanta Journal Constitution. July 7, 1991, p. N9.

Boston Globe. July 16, 1991, p. 53.

Detroit News and Free Press. July 14, 1991, p. F6.

Kirkus Reviews. LIX, May 1, 1991, p. 555.

Library Journal. CXVI, June 1, 1991, p. 194.

Publishers Weekly. CCXXXVIII, May 3, 1991, p. 65.

USA Today. July 19, 1991, p. D2.

The Washington Post Book World. XXI, June 30, 1991, p. 1.