Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced American writer living a very private life in Maine.
Until, one wintry morning, his solitude is disrupted by the arrival of a package postmarked Berlin.
But what is more unsettling is the name accompanying the return address on the package: Petra Dussmann.
For she is the woman with whom Thomas had an intense love affair twenty-five years before in a divided Berlin, where people lived fearfully under the shadows of the Cold War. And so Thomas is forced to grapple with a past he has always kept hidden.
For Petra Dussman was a refugee from the police state of East Germany. And her tragic secrets were to re-write both their destinies.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 656 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 02/02/2012
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099509745
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by chive
I usually love Douglas Kennedy's books but this one was so disappointing. I just wanted to slap the incredibly irritating narrator and I didn't find the plot at all convincing. The two narrators were supposed to be writing in different styles, for different reasons at different times but there was no discernible difference between them. And it was so pretentious.
Review by passion4reading
Thomas Nesbitt is an American writer, soon to be divorced, when one day a packet from Berlin arrives which bears the name of his former lover, with whom he had an intense but short-lived affair in the 1980s. This is the trigger for much reminiscing on Thomas's part, even before he plucks up the courage to open the package.This has got to be one of the worst books I've read so far in my life: told in the first person, the narrator is irritating in the extreme, smug and self-indulgent, always having other people tell him what a brilliant writer he is. The book with its love story at its core is supposed to be emotionally affecting, yet I never cared for either of the main protagonists; what's more, the book is filled with contradictions, implausibilities and sheer preposterousness and pretentiousness, as well as cultural stereotypes and cliches, not to mention pages of tedious details which I personally find deeply patronising (examples: "I took the bright red cover off my Olivetti and popped up the the V-shaped stays that held the paper upright, then rolled a clean sheet into the typewriter and sat up in my chair, positioning the machine directly in front of me.", "It took just under two hours to retype the revised eight-page essay - which included the time needed to dab correction fluid on the paper and wait for it to dry whenever I made a typo." & "Petra placed the record on the long rod that could house up to four LPs. Then she pressed the requisite lever, the disc dropped down with a decisive thud onto the turntable and the tone arm automatically positioned itself over the edge of the record and lowered itself into the first groove."). The love scenes played out like a man's sexual fantasy, described in the worst kind of slush, and the dialogue between the two lovers, which should be familiar and intimate, only sounds terribly stilted. In short, I gave up just short of halfway through the novel as I couldn't bear the thought of having to waste another week or ten days on it, when I've still got so many good books on the shelf waiting to be read.