Friday, June 3, 2016

Books: Exposure By Helen Dunmore

(Drivebycuriosity) - Spy novels have a long tradition, with masterpieces by John le Carre, Ian Fleming, Len Deighton and others. There are not many spy novels by women. Here is one exception: "Exposure" by Helen Dunmore ( amazon).

The book certainly focuses on the female view. The novel is very emotional. Dunmore cares less about treason instead she focuses on the implications for the family.  She writes a lot about using the vacuum cleaner, baking apple crumble, cooking pudding and how the children do at school. The plot, set in England in the early 1960s, switches between the protagonists and tells the story from the perspectives of these characters: Simon, who has a classified job at the British Admiralty,  his friend & colleague Giles and his wife Lilly (this is a spoiler free blog).

"Exposure"  reminds me of Kafka, especially the novel "The Trial". The novel is sinister & sometimes depressing, but I enjoyed Dunmore´s intense, descriptive & ambitious style. The book has a strong start but in the middle parts I got a bit tired because the basic plot got a bit too much into the background for my taste. As the book approaches the end, the story gains pace again, becomes suspenseful and turns into a gripping thriller.

Exposure is a sometimes fascinating spy novel of its own kind.

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