Excerpt from Trinity by Louisa Hall, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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by Louisa Hall

Trinity by Louisa Hall X
Trinity by Louisa Hall
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2018, 336 pages
    Aug 2019, 288 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Natalie Vaynberg
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Testimonial 1
Sam Casal
San Francisco, 1943

I ONLY FOLLOWED HIM FOR TWO DAYS, IN JUNE OF 1943, SO I CAN'T say that I knew him. Not, at least, in any real sense.

But it's true that I thought about him a lot. Even after he'd gone back to Los Alamos, when I was just tailing that girl. And even after the war had been won, and I'd left G-2 to start my own practice.

Even now, if I'm honest. Every once in a while, when I'm on my way home from the office, I still sometimes think about Opp and that girl having dinner.

On the train, swinging out over the bay, it can start to seem as if there must have been some clue I didn't catch, when I was sitting there at the bar, watching them in the smudged mirror. An exchange between him and the girl. An expression I didn't notice.

It's possible for me to get so caught up in the details of that night that the real world—Joanne and the boys, their football games and the homework—can sometimes start to recede. It's as if I'm on the same train, traveling over the same body of water, but it's almost thirty years ago now, and I'm still with the counterintelligence office, tailing him for Communist contacts.

Then, once again, Opp is sitting a few seats ahead, shaking out the newspaper he bought at the station, and it's my job to stay a few seats behind him.

I've missed my stop a few times. I've had to apologize when I got home, and explain to Joanne that I slept through the station. There she is, folding laundry, or cleaning up after dinner, and I'm running late because all these years later, Opp's still shaking out that old paper.

It's the definition of a cold case. A case I'm not even assigned to, and haven't been for nearly three decades.

But even so, sometimes you can't help reviewing the details. You examine the way she greeted him at the station. You look at the Mexican place where they chose to have dinner. You remember the song they got up to dance to, the run in her stocking, the way she led him into the restaurant.

I know it's all useless. Once I looked long and hard at a girl's face. She was my wife and she was sleeping beside me. In the darkness, I looked at her a long time, but another person is a mystery.

We lived together for nearly a year. In the mornings, I watched her pull on her socks. Her shoes were lined up on the floor of our closet. But I never did know her. I also never knew Opp, or Opp's wife, much less that girl who danced with him at the Mexican restaurant.

It's useless to go back now and try to understand what I couldn't back then. For the most part I resist the temptation, and it only occurs to me in a few specific locations. When I'm on the train, for example. Or if I pass Montgomery Street. If I pause there and try to remember what it was like when Opp had gone back to Los Alamos, and I was just tailing the girl.

I stood in that yard across from her building. Every night, I waited there in the darkness, under that tree. Its leaves smelled bitter and dusty. I could never figure out why. I just waited there, looking up at the lights of that girl's apartment.

By then, I was so tired I started to see things. Like the belly of that plane that passed by so slowly it didn't even seem to be moving. I was sure it wouldn't stay up. I thought it would drop straight out of the sky. I imagined running headfirst into the wreckage.

What a strange time that was. I'm glad it's behind us. Now there's no reason to think of it much. Only if I drive past Montgomery Street, or if I venture back to that Mexican restaurant, and pull open that heavy door, and step into that particular darkness.

Then, sometimes, I can start to suspect once again that maybe the whole series of unsolvable cases started because Opp and that girl went to eat there. Or because they danced to that song. Or because they drove home to her third-story apartment.

Excerpted from Trinity by Louisa Hall. Copyright © 2018 by Louisa Hall. Excerpted by permission of Ecco. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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