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Restless: A Novel Paperback – May 29, 2007
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
“An absorbing historical thriller.” ―The New Yorker
“Superbly written…one of the most smoothly readable novels of the year.” ―Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune
“[An] espionage thriller and domestic drama by one of the very best prose stylists and storytellers in the English language.” ―Atlantic Monthly
“The quality of Boyd's prose and the insight he brings to the story make Restless resonate. Told in his characteristically unobtrusive and elegant tone--[Boyd] explores the very idea of spying...” ―Timothy Peters, San Francisco Chronicle
“A gripping and smartly crafted spy thriller set against a fascinating and largely hidden episode in U.S.-British relations.” ―John Dalton, Washington Post
About the Author
William Boyd is the author of eight novels, including A Good Man in Africa and Any Human Heart, three collections of short stories, and thirteen screenplays that have been filmed. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the 2006 Costa (formerly Whitbread) Novel Award, the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. He lives with his wife in London and southwest France.
Top customer reviews
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Boyd's story is one that's been written quite often. An obscure branch of British intelligence recruits a young woman as an agent. This one - Eva Delectorskaya - is the half-English/half Russian woman, living in Paris with her family. After her beloved younger brother is found murdered, the leader of the group he has been working for persuades Eva to take his place in fighting the up-coming German menace. She accepts and goes through training in Scotland. If you've read Simon Mawer's books on the female British agent, "Trapeze" and "Tightrope", then you've already read Boyd's work on agent-training. The only difference is that Mawer's Marion Sutro is being trained for covert operations in Nazi-occupied France, while Boyd's Eva Delectorskaya is working in the United States, trying to gin-up reasons for an American entry into the war.
Boyd's spies and spiettes are an interesting crew, trained in lying, how to catch bad guys, lying, how to tell if someone's following you, and more lying. In fact, everyone routinely lies so much that the reader is left with "what the hell" when trying to make sense of the story. As the second story - which is interspersed with the first - concerns Eva's daughter and grandson and how they come to realise that "Granny Sally" seems to have a far more interesting past than they had any idea of. And the secrets and sins of one generation are carried on to the second.
William Boyd's book isn't bad, in fact it's quite entertaining, but as you read it, you'll find yourself thinking about other WW2 books you've read. Boyd includes a little-known bit of history when he has Eva witness the real German capture of two British agents in a set up at Venlo, Holland. But, I'm not sure you'll remember the book in a couple of months.
This may sound only moderately interesting, but in William Boyd’s hands it becomes completely gripping. Both POV characters, Ruth and Eva, are so real. While it is true that inevitably Ruth’s story is not that interesting, nevertheless, her story kept me glued to the page, partly because I’m old enough to remember the Baader-Meinhof gang, and I kept wondering if she were harboring some of the members in her apartment.
As for Eva, well she is completely compelling. Strikingly beautiful and breathtakingly smart she is astonishingly good at her job, and manages to wriggle out of a couple of very difficult situations. Most of the pleasure of this novel is in watching such a smart woman outsmart some pretty smart men.
I have never heard of William Boyd before, but I will certainly be reading more of his novels. Five stars.
"Of course, there's little in daughter Ruth's life of comparable danger and magnitude. But this doesn't mean that the alternating chapters about her are dull. For one thing, Ruth is an engaging and nicely realized presence. She has her own full existence: a young son, a messy romantic life, unwanted houseguests, a PhD dissertation to finish, a job teaching English as a second language that brings an interesting array of foreign nationals into her Oxford apartment. All these facets are rendered succinctly and skillfully. Perhaps more important, we recognize in Ruth a stubbornness and strength handed down from Eva, who, because of the veiled nature of her spy career, hasn't always been as tender or forthcoming a mother as Ruth would have liked."
What this critic misses is the fact that Ruth's life is full of people who might plausibly be considered spies or terrorists. Her primary suitor is an Iranian who might or might not be a member of the Iranian secret police. A scruffy visitor -- a friend of a friend -- might be a member of an underground German terrorist organization. These are not exactly routine occurrences in the life of a grad student. Yet danger and betrayal arise from an entirely unexpected source: her mother. Ruth's not-so-quotidian life is intended to illustrate that trouble comes at you from any quarter it chooses.