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09 November 2012

Robert Kennedy:

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Romance remembered from a divided Berlin
Robert Kennedy has written one of his most powerful and challenging contemporary romance novels, set mostly in the days of a divided Berlin. Thomas Nesbitt, an  American writer is facing the loneliness of a failed marriage that was always probably doomed to failure because of Nesbitt's memories of what might have been. His memories are revived when he receives a box in the mail from Berlin, with a return address marked Dussman, the name of a woman with whom he had shared a most passionate and damaging relationship many years ago.

The book revisits Berlin in the days of the Berlin Wall and describes the relationship between a young American writer and a beautiful woman refugee from the evils of the East German Stasi. Kennedy's description of the relationship is top notch,  and you get to know (or think you know) the main characters living in a world of deception, betrayal, and survival that we quickly forget after the end of the Cold War. His background of both sides of the Berlin Wall at that time is both evocative and chilling.

Kennedy's supporting characters are also superbly crafted, especially Alistair a larger than life talented artist who balances life as a homosexual and drug addict with intense artistic creativity laced with suicidal tendencies. When Nesbitt arrives in Berlin he saves Alistair's life and shares Alistair's apartment, putting up with his new friend's wild and different lifestyle. Amazingly, despite their differences they become a most unusual pair of supportive friends.

This is a challenging but rewarding book which you will remember for a long time.

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