I read Day of the Jackal when I was in college. It is one of a very few books that I re-read from time to time. And I am never disappointed. It truly is a page turner that led me read Forsyth’s other novels. So, needless to say, I was looking forward to learning about his life and how he wrote the book and how he came up with the idea. I was really excited when I won an advance copy of his autobiography The Outsider: My Life In Intrigue from Goodreads.
I really enjoyed this book. Though it was quite slim on the details of his writing process, he provided many anecdotes from his life that became the novels he is famous for. More than that, however, I learned that he is also an man of principle who gave up a job at the BBC because he could not be a foreign correspondent the way he wanted to, which is to report honestly events that occurred and not report how the government wanted him to.
Mr. Forsyth has had a quite incredible life. He joined the RAF at 17 and got his pilot’s license. He became a foreign correspondent for Reuter’s and was in Paris when the attempts were made on DeGaulle’s life. He was stationed in East Berlin. He has always lived a life of adventure, some of which has ended up becoming plots in his novels.
I found it interesting that he never sought to be a writer. He wanted to be a foreign correspondent because he wanted to see the world. He wrote Day of the Jackal in 35 days and never intended it to be the beginning of a career as a novelist. He was just trying to get some income after he left the BBC.
I also found it interesting that many of the good things that happened in his life occurred because of luck or meeting the right person at the right time. The fact that he wrote the book, met a publisher, was offered a contract, and then got an agent shows how lucky he is.
Overall, I loved this book and I would recommend it. I did not give it five stars, because, as I mentioned, I wish he would have provided a little more detail about certain things. But it is a really good book.
I received the book as a Goodreads giveaway winner. The opinions provided herein are mine and mine alone. I did not receive any other compensation for the opinions herein.