This brand new novel by Douglas Kennedy is one of his best yet. It has true love, espionage, secrets, unique and quirky characters as well as staid and true ones, and shadows of the cold war lurking throughout.
Thomas Nesbitt is a travel writer in the 1980’s just itching for an excuse to get out of a relationship with a woman who he finds too tempting. When he gets that chance, he snatches it up. Leaving Manhattan behind, off he goes to Berlin to write. With one book under his belt, he does have some clout and is able to find employment while he is researching his book.
Thomas lands a dilly of a roomate in Berlin. Alaistair is not only a junkie, but is a foul-mouthed artist who ends up being totally endearing and a good friend to Thomas.
Petra Dussmann is a young East Berliner who works with Thomas at Radio Liberty as a translator. How she comes to live on the West side is a large part of the story. Thomas and Petra begin a steamy love affair that threatens to tear their world apart. Here is where Douglas Kennedy shines. He is the master of writing emotions. His pages simply bloom with feelings of epic proportions.
I have gotten a good feeling for what it must have been like in Berlin before The Wall came down. I could almost picture Kennedy roaming the streets and entering East Berlin through Check Point Charley. I can hear the clomping of heels on the cobblestones. The sense of place is eerily set.
This is a big story coming in at over 500 pages, but becomes so unputdownable that the time seems to fly by. “The Moment” starts when Thomas is in midlife. We learn he is about to become divorced and is moving to a small cottage in the backwoods of Maine. I love a good secret. And along it comes. A large package appears addressed to Thomas. The return address reads: Dussmann.
Douglas Kennedy’s many novels have been translated into 22 languages. He has homes in Paris, London, Berlin and Maine.