This is twilight world of deceit, half-truths and betrayal. This is the world of those who betrayed their country for an ideal and now live as half-trusted pensioners in a world they can't escape. This is the world of secrets and surveillance, of snow and shortages, of dreams and disillusionment.
This book might have been a masterpiece but the thriller format interferes. For a depiction of the topsy turvey world of soviet-era Moscow I preferred the brilliant Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge. Nevertheless, this book kept me turning the pages. I got a little confused about what was happening towards the end but decided I didn't care enough about the characters to try harder.
A couple of brutally written murders.
Some great lines:
- "the secret there, his skin warm with it" (p 83)
- "for a moment he wondered how he should feel about that, which of his selves to ask" (p 96)
April 2018; 290 pages