Spies by Michael Frayn
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

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.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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 Frayn

See more books from this Author
Michael Frayn is the author of nine novels, including the bestselling Headlong, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice selection and a Booker Prize finalist. He has also written thirteen plays, among them Noises Off and Copenhagen, which won three Tony Awards in 1999. He lives in London.
 
Published January 18, 2003 by Metropolitan Books. 244 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, History, Education & Reference, War. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Spies
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Michael Frayn on Jun 08 2012

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

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by John Mullan on Jun 01 2012

The most electric moment in Spies comes when the narrator hears his own name.

Read Full Review of Spies: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by John Mullan on May 25 2012

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

Reader Rating for Spies
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 62 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×