Fabulous Fiction Firsts #269
A best-selling author abroad who's been awarded France's Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, American-born Douglas Kennedy is not yet a household word this side of the Atlantic but his first major U.S. release The Moment : a novel * is likely to change that. (Follow in quick succession by The Woman in the Fifth coming out in July, and already adapted into film starring Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas).
Just divorced travel writer Thomas Nesbitt receives a package at his remote Maine cottage that brings him back to an affair during his days in Berlin working for Radio Liberty. He was drawn to Petra Dussmann, an East Berlin refugee translator whose traumatic history, and the dirty politics of Cold War spy game brought their affair to a devastating close.
Set against the melancholy backdrop of a divided city, it's richly romantic and emotionally engaging, a Cold War novel that is both accessible and compelling. Read The Moment and be moved by Thomas and Petra's connection, the impossibility of their situation and the ethical dilemma that would eventually devastate them both.
"Kennedy's (official website) work harkens back to an earlier era of big novels à la James Michener and Herman Wouk, which is perhaps why—regrettably—he is still more widely read abroad than in his native land." A writer to get to know and a work to be savored.
* = Starred review