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Frayn, Michael Spies ISBN 13: 9780571268856

Spies - Softcover

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A SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 NOVEL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

In the quiet cul-de-sac where Keith and Stephen live the only immediate signs of the Second World War are the blackout at night and a single random bombsite. But the two boys start to suspect all is not as it seems when one day Keith announces a disconcerting discovery: the Germans have infiltrated his own family. And when the secret underground world they have dreamed up emerges from the shadows they find themselves engulfed in mysteries far deeper and more painful than they had bargained for.

Winner of the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award.

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Review:
In Michael Frayn's novel Spies an old man returns to the scene of his seemingly ordinary suburban childhood. Stephen Wheatley is unsure of what he is seeking but, as he walks once-familiar streets he hasn't seen in 50 years, he unfolds a story of childish games colliding cruelly with adult realities. It is wartime and Stephen's friend Keith makes the momentous announcement that his mother is a German spy. The two boys begin to spy on the supposed spy, following her on her trips to the shops and to the post, and reading her diary. Keith's mother does have secrets to conceal but they are not the ones the boys suspect. Frayn skilfully manipulates his plot so that the reader's growing awareness of the truth remains just a few steps beyond Stephen's dawning realisation that he is trespassing on painful and dangerous territory. The only false notes occur in the final chapter when the central revelation (already cleverly signposted) is too swiftly followed by further disclosures about Stephen and his family that seem somehow unnecessary and make the denouement less satisfyingly conclusive. This is a much sparer and less expansive book than Headlong, Frayn's Booker Prize-shortlisted 1999 novel, more understated in its wit, but it is, in many ways, more compelling.--Nick Rennison
Review:
'Michael Frayn is the most philosophical comic writer - and the most comic philosophical writer - of our time.' Michael Arditti, Daily Mail 'As you're dragged into his headlong race for fame and riches, you never know what will happen next, only that more torture lies in store.' Blake Morrison, Independent on Sunday

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  • PublisherFaber & Faber
  • Publication date2011
  • ISBN 10 0571268854
  • ISBN 13 9780571268856
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages240
  • Rating
    3.54 avg rating
    ( 5,902 ratings by Goodreads )

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. In the quiet cul-de-sac where Keith and Stephen live the only immediate signs of the Second World War are the blackouts at night and a single random bombsite. But the two boys start to suspect all is not what it seems when one day Keith announces a disconcerting discovery: the Germans have infiltrated his own family. And when the secret underground world they have dreamed up emerges from the shadows they find themselves engulfed in mysteries far deeper and more painful than they had bargained for. The classic wartime coming of age novel from a well loved writer. Shipping may be from our UK warehouse or from our Australian or US warehouses, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9780571268856

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Book Description Condition: New. 2011. Main. Paperback. In the quiet cul-de-sac where Keith and Stephen live the only immediate signs of the Second World War are the blackout at night and a single random bombsite. And when the secret underground world they have dreamed up emerges from the shadows they find themselves engulfed in mysteries far deeper and more painful than they had bargained for. Num Pages: 240 pages. BIC Classification: FC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 200 x 129 x 16. Weight in Grams: 190. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780571268856

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