Restless: A Novel

Restless: A Novel

3.8 16
by William Boyd
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In December, 2012 The Sundance Channel will air the BBC-produced film RESTLESS starring Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon, Hayley Atwell, and Rufus Sewell, based on this novel by William Boyd.

Someone is trying to kill Sally Gilmartin. It is the summer of 1976, and the only person she can trust is her daughter, Ruth, a young single mother struggling with her own

See more details below

Overview

In December, 2012 The Sundance Channel will air the BBC-produced film RESTLESS starring Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon, Hayley Atwell, and Rufus Sewell, based on this novel by William Boyd.

Someone is trying to kill Sally Gilmartin. It is the summer of 1976, and the only person she can trust is her daughter, Ruth, a young single mother struggling with her own demons. Now Sally must tell her daughter the truth: She is actually Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian émigré recruited for the British Secret Service in 1939. Soon Ruth is drawn deeper into the astonishing events of her mother's past, including her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward U.S. involvement in Second World War and her dangerous love affair with another spy. Ruth also discovers that her mother has one final assignment. This time, though, Eva can't do it alone--she needs Ruth's help. Full of tension and drama, emotion and history, this is storytelling at its finest.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
An absorbing historical thriller.
Chicago Tribune Alan Cheuse
Superbly written…one of the most smoothly readable novels of the year.
Atlantic Monthly
[An] espionage thriller and domestic drama by one of the very best prose stylists and storytellers in the English language.
San Francisco Chronicle Timothy Peters
The quality of Boyd's prose and the insight he brings to the story make Restless resonate. Told in his characteristically unobtrusive and elegant tone—[Boyd] explores the very idea of spying...
Washington Post John Dalton
A gripping and smartly crafted spy thriller set against a fascinating and largely hidden episode in U.S.-British relations.
Ben Macintyre
Boyd has written a crackling spy thriller, but more than that, he has evoked the atmosphere of wartime espionage: the clubby, grubby moral accommodations, the paranoia, the tense sexuality…Boyd's first novel, A Good Man in Africa, was a glinting satire, while An Ice-Cream War combined history, comedy and tragedy to wonderful effect. Here he has used a more muted palette, with no humor, no literary embroidery and little emotion. The pared-down style, clipped and understated, perfectly fits the sepia setting.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
When Ruth Gilmartin learns the true identity and the WWII profession of her aging mother, Sally Gilmartin, at the start of Boyd's elegant ninth novel (after Any Human Heart), Ruth is understandably surprised. Sally, n e Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian migr living in Paris in 1939, was recruited as a spy by Lucas Romer, the head of a secretive propaganda group called British Security Coordination, to help get America into the war. This fascinating story is well told, but slightly undercut by Ruth's less-than-dramatic life as a single mother teaching English at Oxford while pursuing a graduate degree in history. Ruth's more pedestrian existence can't really compete with her mother's dramatic revelations. The contemporary narrative achieves a good deal more urgency when Ruth's mother recruits her to hunt down the reclusive, elusive Romer. But the real story is Eva/Sally's, a vividly drawn portrait of a minor figure in spydom caught up in the epic events leading up to WWII. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In his latest novel, Boyd (A Good Man in Africa) entwines two stories. One, set in England in 1976, focuses on the everyday preoccupations of Ruth Gilmartin, a single mother who teaches English to foreigners in Oxford. Ruth's life changes when her mother, Sally, begins to reveal her past to her daughter. In the early years of World War II, Sally, whose real name is Eva Delectorskaya, was recruited as a spy by British intelligence. Sent to New York in 1941, she spread black propaganda in an attempt to coax the United States into the war. On a mission in New Mexico, Eva was betrayed and had to kill a man to survive. Unable to trust her team, she escaped to Canada and eventually returned to England, where she lives in seclusion under a new identity, waiting for her betrayer to track her down. While some readers may be annoyed by the author's stylistic tics, particularly the profusion of paired adverbs (e.g., people speak "seriously, weightily" and shrug "hopelessly, helplessly"), others will enjoy this glimpse of wartime dirty tricks. For larger public libraries.-Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Atmospheric novel about an older woman whose past career as a WWII spy has come back to haunt her. Ruth Gilmartin is a single mother of one in 1976 England. On a visit to Grandma's, Ruth's mother, Sally, informs her that her real name is Eva Delectorskaya, and that she was an agent of British Intelligence during World War II. Eva hands Sally a manuscript of her story, abruptly launching the duo and the reader into the past. Boyd (Any Human Heart, 2003, etc.) seems more eager to tell Eva's story than Ruth's. Not surprisingly, as the elder Gilmartin finds herself swept into a world on the brink of war in 1939. Recruited by the swarthy and mysterious Lucas Romer, Eva is trained in spycraft and joins Romer's team, specializing in disinformation. Propaganda is Eva's stock in trade, and she has a knack for it. Still, for all her talent, she finds herself attracted to her secretive boss. Boyd has obviously read a few espionage novels. Can any young woman resist James Bond? Ruth leads a far less glamorous life. Saddled with Jochen, her inquisitive son, she teaches English as a Second Language. Her adventures occur vicariously, through the lives of the foreign students who study with her. With a nod to irony, Ruth teaches people to blend into their surroundings. At first, her mother's revelation seems to be a sign of senility. As Ruth begins to investigate, the shadows of her mother's former life reveal themselves. There is some truth to this work of fiction, and the real-life events make for a fascinating backdrop. Boyd skillfully manipulates language as easily as Eva does. He handles the plot more roughly. Ruth is clumsy albeit untrained, and the other characters in her world are ratherthinly sketched. Yet Boyd fits the puzzle together neatly in the end. A bit light on action and intrigue, but a cool, collected effort.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596912373
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/29/2007
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
539,143
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.37(h) x 0.90(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >