Excerpt from The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Betrayal

A Novel

by Helen Dunmore

The Betrayal
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2011, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


'Even when they hurt I do them,' says Tanya proudly.

'That's right. Remember what I told you, it may hurt but it will never harm you. You're not putting any weight on your knees, you see. You're just helping them to learn how to move again. And how about the cod liver oil?' 'She takes it every day, good as gold, don't you, Tanya?'

What he'd really like to do is send Tanya to a sanatorium that specializes in arthritis. There's no father: dead in the war, like so many of his children's fathers. Probably never even saw his daughter. The mother is from Kingisepp originally, but she and all her family fled east as the Germans advanced, and were sent on to the Urals. Tanya and her mother must have returned as part of Leningrad's post-war influx. And now Tanya's seven, and her mother works in a tailoring shop. Their chance of a ticket to a children's sanatorium looks slim, but it's still worth pursuing.

'And you've kept all the physiotherapy appointments?'

Tanya's mother can manage these hospital visits, but each physiotherapy session means that her own mother, who went back to live in Kingisepp, must travel to Leningrad, stay over and take Tanya to the clinic. 'She'd live with me if it would help, but in a communal apartment like ours it's not really possible. Our room is very small. And besides, she grows vegetables, and that's how I get extra eggs and milk for Tanya.'

'Yes, Tanya's been to her appointments as regular as clockwork,' says her mother with pride. 'She's never missed a single one.'

'That's really excellent,' says Andrei warmly. 'Now, please wait just a moment while I have a quick word with the radiographer. Tanya, I'm going to ask Sofya Vasilievna to look especially carefully today.' He spends too long with patients. He talks to them too much. He's been criticized for it, but he points out in his defence that in the long term his approach is efficient. It enables him to spot problems as they develop, or even before. He achieves 'exceptionally high levels of patient compliance with treatment', which is certainly something that can be ticked off on the targets. It's not all 'yes doctor no doctor' and then go home and swallow some decoction their grandmas swear by, and not bother with the exercises because the poor little thing is sick, isn't she, so what's the good of wearing her out?

Also, Andrei believes that children want to know far more than we think they do. They get less frightened that way. He has known children close to death who have understood it in a strangely matter-of-fact way, but have suffered because their parents, in grief and terror, refused to acknowledge what was happening.

He's on his way up to the ward when someone behind him calls his name. He turns. 'Lena! Sorry, I'm in a rush - '

She's panting, and her face is flushed. She must have run after him. 'I saw you coming out of Radiology.'

'Is everything all right?'

'I've got to talk to you. It's important. It'll only take a minute.'

'What's wrong?'

She glances up and down the corridor, puts a hand on his arm and steers him a few metres away from the half-open door to their left.

'You were in the courtyard with Russov.'

'Yes?'

'It's about the boy who came in last night, isn't it? He's in a private room, but Lyuba saw the name. What's going on? Don't for God's sake let Russov drag you into this.'

'Lena, is it true that this is Volkov's boy?'

Again that quick look up and down the corridor. 'Yes. They say it's the only child.'

Andrei feels a plunge in his stomach, as if he were standing on a cliff and had suddenly looked down.

'He was, wasn't he?' asks Lena.

'What?'

'Russov. Trying to dump the case on you. It's so typical - '

'I suppose we can't blame him, Lena. If we were in his shoes - '

The Betrayal © 2010 by Helen Dunmore; reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Doctors' Plot

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.