19 March 2012

Trapeze; Simon Mawer

TrapezeTrapeze by
Simon Mawer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Recently I had a conversation with someone about the Holocaust; we agreed that those with direct experience would be gone in the next 10-15 years, and that the memories of those with direct experience were (now) fading or being lost to old age. So it's not surprising that the children of those people are striving to keep those memories alive and to honor their parents' experience.

In this case, the author is writing (loosely) about a friend of her parents, a woman who worked for the Special Operations Executive in France, helping the Resistance. Marian/Anne-Marie/Alice is working in the WAAF when she receives a letter asking her to come to a meeting - that meeting leads to a position in the SEO, training in armed combat, destruction, sabotage, espionage, resisting interrogation and Morse code, and ultimately an assignment in France as a sort of courier for the resistance. In addition to her SEO role, she's also been asked to meet with, and convince, her old crush, Clement Pelletier, now working as a physicist in Paris, working on a new type of bomb (the science of the bomb is explained, as is Shrodinger's cat, but not collapsing the wave function).

As with any good spy novel, there's betrayal and tension, but this is slower paced than most in that genre. The psychological side isn't as intense, either. It was also a little odd to not get a better feel for what she did in the south of France - most of the action once she's in France is centered on her time in Paris, which is too bad as I think more about the courier work would have given us more of a flavor of what life was like during that time (something that I think most readers don't have, whereas life in Paris has been covered in other novels and movies).

ARC provided by publisher.

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