Title: Spies : A Novel
Publisher: Faber & Faber, Incorporated, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine
Edition: First Edition
Bump to head of spine. In a clear protective Brodart Cover. Winner of the Whitbread Award for Best Novel, this is the newest novel from the author of Headlong and Copenhagen. A child's game turns deadly when two boys suspect that one of their mothers is a secret agent in this gripping novel about German spies in England during WW II. In Glitz, Vincent Mora is a Miami detective recovering from a gunshot wound, and Teddy is an ex-con who's girlfriend took a dive off a seven story building. And Teddy is bent on revenge. Bookseller Inventory # 1000286
Synopsis: In the quiet cul-de-sac where Keith and Stephen live there is very little evidence of the Second World War. But the two friends suspect that the inhabitants of the Close are not what they seem. As Keith authoritatively informs the trusting Stephen, the whole district is riddled with secret passages and underground laboratories. Then one day Keith announces an even more disconcerting discovery: the Germans have infiltrated his own family, and the children find themselves engulfed in mysteries far deeper and more painful than they had bargained for.
Review: In Michael Frayn's novel Spies an old man returns to the scene of his seemingly ordinary suburban childhood. Stephen Wheatley is unsure of what he is seeking, but as he walks once-familiar streets he hasn't seen in 50 years, he unfolds a story of childish games colliding cruelly with adult realities. It is wartime and Stephen's friend Keith makes the momentous announcement that his mother is a German spy. The two boys begin to spy on the supposed spy, following her on her trips to the shops and to the post office, and reading her diary. Keith's mother does have secrets to conceal but they are not the ones the boys suspect. Frayn skillfully manipulates his plot so that the reader's growing awareness of the truth remains just a few steps beyond young Stephen's dawning realization that he is trespassing on painful and dangerous territory. The only false notes occur in the final chapter when the central revelation is too swiftly followed by further disclosures about Stephen and his family that seem somehow unnecessary and make the denouement less satisfyingly conclusive. This is a much sparer and less expansive book than Frayn's 1999 novel Headlong, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize. --Nick Rennison, Amazon.co.uk
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