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I found this novel to be a worthwhile read. The plot and characters came across to me as secondary. I don’t know Douglas Kennedy, but it seemed to me that they were secondary to him as well. For me, “The Moment”, could have been a book written for the purpose of providing a backstory for a betrayal (perceived or genuine). I can almost see the author saying to an intended audience, “Maybe this story will serve you, not as an excuse, but at least you will have some helpful context.” There was also an irony involved in that, as I was reading in various scenes of the book about propaganda from the capitalist and communist sides of the Cold War, I was reading it within enough of a relativist angle that it almost felt like propaganda itself.
The merits of the book more than offset anything I considered awkward. Set mostly within the context of Cold War Berlin, the book explores themes of deception, betrayal, rationalization and survival. The author does a fantastic job of transporting me into an extremely oppressive system and enabling me feel how illusive personal equilibrium would be.
I received two gifts from “The Moment”. I loved the compassion for people often marginalized or judged. They were not prettied up, but their beautiful parts shined through. The main strength of this book was how Kennedy really captures the essence of longing. I have never read a book that put me in tune with my own longing like this. It is not a tidy novel and I don’t recommend it if a story is all you are looking for; having said that, I can’t imagine a person reading it without receiving something valuable in the process. A very thoughtful and thought-provoking work!