Simon Mawer’s new novel starts with a cliffhanger: a woman
parachutes into occupied France. This is operation Trapeze and British Marian,
aka Alice, is about to become French Anne-Marie—but will her partners be there
to catch her when she falls? Based on the true story of one of the 53 women
recruited by Britain’s Special Operations Executive to work undercover with the
French Resistance, Mawer’s fiction vividly evokes a time of danger and
privations and dramatizes how the war effort commandeered private as well as
public lives. It’s also an insightful and fascinating depiction of a woman’s
experience in a high-stakes man’s world. As he did so powerfully in Mendel’s Dwarf and The Glass Room, Mawer again
keeps multiple tonalities in play, the spy thriller making room for a
complicated love story, and the treacheries of wartime espionage leading to the
laws of atomic physics—all conveyed in prose that’s as lyrically descriptive as
it is cleanly factual. - Laurie Greer
@ Busboys and Poets 14th & V: Charmaine Craig - Miss Burma
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