Now You Know

Overview

Done a bit of good in the world, though, with his campaign for open government. No secrets, that's Terry's secret. Okay, maybe he does come across as a bit of a headline-grabbing charlatan sometimes. But he's a charmer all right. Ask anyone. Ask Shireen on the switchboard, or Kent on the photocopier, Brixton's own unguided missile. Ask Liz the librarian, if you can get past the nervous grin and bramble-bush hairdo. Ask Kevin - on second thought, don't; it'd take him all day to tell you. So ask Jacqui then, ...
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Overview

Done a bit of good in the world, though, with his campaign for open government. No secrets, that's Terry's secret. Okay, maybe he does come across as a bit of a headline-grabbing charlatan sometimes. But he's a charmer all right. Ask anyone. Ask Shireen on the switchboard, or Kent on the photocopier, Brixton's own unguided missile. Ask Liz the librarian, if you can get past the nervous grin and bramble-bush hairdo. Ask Kevin - on second thought, don't; it'd take him all day to tell you. So ask Jacqui then, lovestruck refugee from Sunningdale who keeps the show afloat. Like Terry does her, strictly weekends only... Only one person finds no difficulty in resisting Terry's charm and countering his arguments - Hilary, a serious and dedicated young Civil Servant in the Home Office who happens to know the truth about the case in which Terry is currently interested. She despises him and everything he stands for. But then why is she to be found one evening walking through the little backstreets behind the Strand, past the bin-bags and the huddled figures in the doorways, to the run-down block where Terry's pressure group has its headquarters?

From the author of the acclaimed novel The Trick of It and the creator of the stage/screen hit Noises Off comes the hilarious story of an unscrupulous, womanizing London politician who meets his match in the person of a woman who despises everything he stands for.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Frayn ( A Landing on the Sun ) again wickedly anatomizes the British civil service; this time his effort is more virtuosic, yet ultimately less affecting. His protagonist, Terry, runs an eccentric group dedicated to digging out and publicizing the government's dark secrets. While Terry is trying to expose the Home Office's handling of a case in which a man has been badly beaten by the police, a bewildered Home Office official, Hilary Wood, meets him by chance, trying to escape her ineffectual boyfriend. Hilary is drawn to Terry's massive self-confidence; briefly, they are lovers, and she begins to turn over precious departmental secrets to him. What this does to Terry and his wonderfully observed office colleagues--ever-smiling Shireen at the switchboard, bossy socialite Jacqui (another flame of his); secretive, smart Liz; and hopeless Kevin and Kent, the office boys--is the story. Frayn manages to enter each of their psyches in the first person (leading to some confusion at first), and with extraordinary mimicry he sets forth their various obsessions and self-justifications, which end in a magnificent office row. Despite Frayn's extreme skill and his keen sense of human foibles, however, the book doesn't quite come to life for an American reader; Terry is perhaps too English a type to be entirely convincing on this side of the water, while painfully bewildered Hilary is frankly unbelievable in American terms. (Feb.)
Library Journal
In his seventh novel, Frayn tilts at the windmills of the British civil service and the dissident pressure groups that it spawns. His protagonist Terry confides, ``I haven't got many qualifications for running a political campaign. I'm an ignorant bastard.'' What Terry can do is ask embarrassing questions, often staging public hijinks to entice media coverage and, to vary the pace, indulging in sexual escapades (giving the lie to his 61 years). Terry's office explodes when Hilary, a civil servant, hands over the document he's been seeking--and herself as well. Disillusioned, she chucks her career and joins The Campaign, creating havoc in the already chaotic office. Although Frayn uses an odd first-person style to narrate the tale, each character thinks and speaks so distinctively that keeping track is scarcely a problem. Unlike his Landing on the Sun ( LJ 1/92), which also pilloried the civil service but was hauntingly sad, this is a macho romp that any anglophile will enjoy as much for its wit as for its rueful portrayal of the servants of Her Majesty. For all readers who enjoy robust farce.-- Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780573018480
  • Publisher: Samuel French Ltd
  • Publication date: 6/6/2011
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 0.20 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Frayn is the award-winning writer of the novels Headlong and Spies, and the plays Noises Off, Copenhagen and Democracy - which had a successful run on Broadway in 2004

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