Tightrope: Book summary and reviews of Tightrope by Simon Mawer

Tightrope

by Simon Mawer

Tightrope by Simon Mawer X
Tightrope by Simon Mawer
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2015
    512 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

An historical thriller that brings back Marian Sutro, ex-Special Operations agent, and traces her romantic and political exploits in post-World War II London, where the Cold War is about to reshape old loyalties.

As Allied forces close in on Berlin in spring 1945, a solitary figure emerges from the wreckage that is Germany. It is Marian Sutro, whose existence was last known to her British controllers in autumn 1943 in Paris. One of a handful of surviving agents of the Special Operations Executive, she has withstood arrest, interrogation, incarceration, and the horrors of Ravensbrück concentration camp, but at what cost? Returned to an England she barely knows and a postwar world she doesn't understand, Marian searches for something on which to ground the rest of her life. Family and friends surround her, but she is haunted by her experiences and by the guilt of knowing that her contribution to the war effort helped lead to the monstrosities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the mysterious Major Fawley, the man who hijacked her wartime mission to Paris, emerges from the shadows to draw her into the ambiguities and uncertainties of the Cold War, she sees a way to make amends for the past and at the same time to find the identity that has never been hers.
 
A novel of divided loyalties and mixed motives, Tightrope is the complex and enigmatic story of a woman whose search for personal identity and fulfillment leads her to shocking choices.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"If the novel is a little too long and too busy, it nevertheless tells a dramatic story about one woman testing the boundaries of loyalty as one kind of war gives way to a shadowy new one. " - Publishers Weekly

"Excellent for historical thriller readers and those interested in the dawn of the nuclear era." - Library Journal

"[A] fun, intelligent read. Very much in the vein of John le Carré - a damaged individual trapped in a complex and morally ambiguous international intrigue set on the stage of the early Cold War." - Kirkus

"The book is full of the fascinating minutiae of espionage-aircraft drops, code-cracking, double agents, scrambled radio messages. There's a romance, too ... Mawer exhibits a great feeling for suspense, and produces memorable episodes in dark alleyways, deserted cafes, and shadowy corners of Père Lachaise." - The New Yorker

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Author Information

Simon Mawer

Simon Mawer was born in 1948 in England. His first novel, Chimera, won the McKitterick Prize for first novels in 1989. Mendel's Dwarf (1997), his first book to be published in the U.S., was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and was a New York Times Book to Remember for 1998. The Gospel of Judas, The Fall (winner of the 2003 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature), and Swimming to Ithaca followed, as well as The Glass Room, his tenth book and eighth novel, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Trapeze (Other Press) was published in 2012.

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