From the bestselling author of Headlong, a mesmerizing novel about secrecy, imagination, and a child's game turned deadly earnest
The sudden trace of a disturbing, forgotten aroma compels Stephen Wheatley to return to the site of a dimly remembered but troubling childhood summer in wartime London. As he pieces together his scattered images, we are brought back to a quiet, suburan street where two boys, Keith and his sidekick-Stephen-are engaged in their own version of the war effort: spying on the neighbors, recording their movements, ferreting out their secrets.
But when Keith utters six shocking words, the boys' game of espionage takes a sinister and unintended turn. A wife's simple errands and a family's ordinary rituals-once the focus of childish speculation-become the tragic elements of adult catastrophe.
In gripping prose, charged with emotional intensity, Spies reaches into the moral confusion of youth to reveal a reality filled with deceptions and betrayals, where the bonds of friendship, marriage, and family are unravelled by cowardice and erotic desire. Master illusionist Michael Frayn powerfully demonstrates, yet again, that what appears to be happening in front of our eyes often turns out to be something we can't see at all.
About Michael FraynSee more books from this Author
This is what a story can suggest – how people act, not like cogs moved by the machinery of circumstance, but as autonomous beings, on the basis of what they perceive and understand, and of what they invent for themselves.Read Full Review of Spies: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian
Provided the novel can make us believe in the intensity with which its narrator re-experiences the past, it has found a way to make narrative logic out of his holding back his eventual discoveries.Read Full Review of Spies: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian
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