Set in Australia, East Timor and Washington in the lead up to the independence referendum in East Timor in 1999, The Idealist is a novel which explores the entanglement of private and public life. It is a political mystery, the portrait of a marriage, a reflection on friendship, and a study of a personality as it breaks down under pressure.
Jake, an Australian defence analyst, is torn between his support for the people of East Timor, whose commitment to independence in the face of mounting violence, he has experienced personally, and his sense of responsibility for, and complicity in, the actions of his government. When he is found dead in the garage of his Washington home, after passing secret intelligence to his American counterpart, his wife Anne wants justice.
The narrative is told from changing perspectives, moving through time and memory, in search of what really happened. It is a story, above all, about the formation, necessity and human cost of idealism.
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