Suspicion: A Novelby Robert McCrum
Julian Whyte leads a quiet, emotionally shut down life as a barrister, bachelor, and district coroner in the small village of Mansfield in the south of England. His only close relative is his older brother Raymond, who for the past several years has led the life of an expatriate Communist intellectual in East Germany. But it is 1991. The Berlin Wall is down and… See more details below
Julian Whyte leads a quiet, emotionally shut down life as a barrister, bachelor, and district coroner in the small village of Mansfield in the south of England. His only close relative is his older brother Raymond, who for the past several years has led the life of an expatriate Communist intellectual in East Germany. But it is 1991. The Berlin Wall is down and Raymond Whyte is moving to Mansfield with his new German wife, Kristina, and family. He hopes for an escape from the moral compromises of his life in a repressive state, but his arrival quickly stirs the suspicions of the small town. When Julian finds himself drawn to Kristina, the family reunion turns sour and fraught with tension. By degrees Julian becomes caught in a spiral of guilt and betrayal from which there is no escape - except perhaps through murder.
Julian Whyte has led a flawlessly dignified existence. He is above reproach in his job as his district's coroner, a perpetually eligible bachelor, and a pillar of his community. Now, he welcomes news of his older brother Raymond's return with his family from former East Germany, where he had long taught at a university, upholding Marxist ideals. But Raymond arrives under a cloud: He is depressed, his beautiful German wife is unhappy, and rumors of his role as a Stasi informer grow more specific with the passing of the seasons. Meanwhile, Julian takes quite a shine to Raymond's wife Kristina. She begins to warm to him, too, and it isn't long before they're doing the nasty at every available opportunity, a situation that Raymond accepts in his typically depressed manner. He is bitter and vengeful enough, however, to tell Julian that Kristina doesn't really love either of them: She cares only for a young German poet she'd known in East Berlin. Raymond ended the affair by framing the poet, watching calmly as he was arrested and imprisoned. In time, Kristina's ardor toward Julian cools, as her husband had predicted. Then, suddenly, out of the new Germany comes the old lover, intent on taking her back to her homeland; Julian, desperate to make her stay even though he knows she wants to go, takes charge in a masterfuland largely implausiblefashion, manipulating both his poor, hapless brother and the cocksure lover into a fateful, fatal encounter.
McCrum's own fatal flaw remains: The underpinnings of the plot are weakened by unanswered questions and dodges that, however artful, leave the reader increasingly unwilling to go along.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.76(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.14(d)
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