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From the New York Times bestselling author of Leaving the World comes a tragic love story set in Cold War Berlin.
Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced American writer in the midst of a rueful middle age. Living a very private life in Maine - in touch only with his daughter and still trying to reconcile himself to the end of a long marriage that he knew was flawed from the outset - he finds his solitude disrupted by the arrival, one wintry morning, of a box postmarked Berlin. The return address on the box - Dussmann - unsettles him completely. For it is the name of the woman with whom he had an intense love affair twenty-six years ago in Berlin - at a time when the city was cleaved in two, and personal and political allegiances were haunted by the deep shadows of the Cold War.
Refusing initially to confront what he might find in that box, Thomas nevertheless finds himself forced to grapple with a past he has never discussed with any living person - and in the process relive those months in Berlin, when he discovered, for the first and only time in his life, the full, extraordinary force of true love. But Petra Dussmann - the woman to whom he lost his heart - was not just a refugee from a police state, but also someone who lived with an ongoing sorrow beyond dreams... and one which gradually rewrote both their destinies.
In this, his tenth novel, Douglas Kennedy has written that rare thing: a love story as morally complex as it is tragic and deeply reflective. Brilliantly gripping, it is an atmospherically dense, ethically tangled tale of romantic certainty and conflicting loyalties, all set amidst a stunningly rendered portrait of Berlin in the final dark years before The Wall came down.
Like all of Kennedy’s previous, critically acclaimed bestselling novels, The Moment is both unputdownable and profound. Posing so many searching questions about why and how we fall in love - and the tangled way we project on to others that which our hearts seek - it is a love story of great epic sweep and immense emotional power. And yes, it will make you reflect long and hard on the ongoing search for love that is so central to all our lives. And yes, it will also make you cry.
About the Author
Douglas Kennedy’s novels - THE DEAD HEART, THE BIG PICTURE, THE JOB, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP and STATE OF THE UNION - have all been highly praised bestsellers. He is also the author of three acclaimed travel books: BEYOND THE PYRAMIDS, IN GOD’S COUNTRY, and CHASING MAMMON. His work has been translated into sixteen languages. Born in Manhattan in l955, he lives in London with his wife and two children.
Cold war Berlin provides a moody backdrop for Kennedy's tale of a travel writer's remembrances of love and betrayal, friendship and danger, opportunity and entrapment, while working for Radio Liberty in the divided city. Narrator Thomas Nesbitt, age 50, retreats into his house in Maine to wallow in memories of living in Germany 25 years earlier after the success of his first book. In West Berlin, Thomas meets his soul mate, Petra Dussmann, a translator with an iron curtain around her heart. Petra's mysterious melancholy proves irresistible, and as Thomas is drawn into a passionate affair, he also becomes entangled in spy games played by the Stasi and the CIA. Against the mix of le Carré esque intrigue and Isherwoodish debauchery, the couple's fervor flourishes until they start talking marriage. That's when Thomas learns what nearly everyone has been trying to tell him: relationships are shadowy in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Kennedy (Leaving the World) once again creates characters that are credible if not complex in a compelling if not wildly original love story thickened by stories-within-his-story. This isn't so much a new perspective on the cold war as an observant, compassionate, and romantic portrait of emotional turmoil in troubled times. (May)
A best-selling author abroad who's been awarded France's Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the American-born Kennedy is not as well known here, which is positively bizarre in light of his most recent novel (as well as 2002's A Special Relationship, just published here for the first time, in trade paperback). Is Moment a literate page-turner? Or a breathlessly fast-paced novel of ideas? No matter, it's utterly engrossing. Just divorcing travel writer Thomas Nesbitt receives a package at his remote Maine cottage that brings him back to an affair he had while working at Radio Liberty in divided Berlin. There he fell for coworker Petra, a refugee from East Germany whose sorrowful story came out in twisted bits. She and Thomas were ravenously in love—even his impossibly contrary Irish roommate approved. Then there was a betrayal, personal, political, and resounding—but whose? VERDICT Kennedy is astonishing at communicating his characters' emotional turmoil, the complexity of their situation, and the coldness of the Cold War, and he tosses tough ethical questions our way as he ponders that "moment" that could change everything—and the very nature of love. Highly recommended for all types of fiction readers. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/10.]—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
"A book with lasting impact: powerful, provocative, and tender."
"Kennedy's evocative prose makes the eventual spellbinding finish worth the trip."
Published: 28th April 2011
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 3.6
Weight (kg): 0.622