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The Girl Who Fell From The Sky Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 218 customer reviews

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Length: 313 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

Masterly . . . A tour de force that grips and never lets go (Max Davidson Mail on Sunday)

I read late into the night and cried a little when I was done. Mawer's set pieces are so beautiful you want to read them two or three times over. He writes about fear and about bravery better than any contemporary novelist I know (Rachel Cooke Observer)

Such rewarding reading . . . Mawer is a genuinely great contemporary writer (Simon Schama Financial Times)

If you only read one book this year, read this one (Allan Massie Scotsman)

Book Description

The wonderful new novel from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author of THE GLASS ROOM

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1058 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408703513
  • Publisher: Abacus (3 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006CQQQK4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 218 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,361 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Educated at Millfield School in Somerset and at Brasenose College, Oxford, Mawer took a degree in biology and worked as a biology teacher for many years. His first novel, Chimera, was published by Hamish Hamilton in 1989, winning the McKitterick Prize for first novels. Mendel's Dwarf (1997), reached the last ten of the Booker Prize and was a New York Time "Book to Remember" for 1998. The Gospel of Judas, The Fall (winner of the 2003 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature) and Swimming to Ithaca followed. In 2009 The Glass Room, his tenth book and eighth novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Mawer is married and has two children. He has lived in Italy for over thirty years.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Marian Sutro is recruited by the British in 1941 to work in France during World War Two. Marian previously lived in Geneva, but is now in England working in the WAAF, and as a native French speaker, she is selected to be trained and sent to work undercover in the South-West of France. In addition to the duties she is trained to undertake for the Special Operations Executive, she is given an additional secret assignment. She has happy memories of France from the past, of holidays and friends including Clement Pelletier, a research physicist. Before leaving for France she visits her brother Ned, also a physicist. We see her as she undergoes the numerous varied and rigorous training exercises, during which time she meets others who may play a part in her future, including Benoit. She learns 'how to blend in and how to fade away, how to see without ever being seen.' Then, she is dropped into occupied France by parachute, where her identity becomes Anne-Marie Laroche. When Marian has cause to head for Paris, she finds it is a different place from the one she remembers; it is changed, 'tarnished... this strange city that is a simulacrum of the Paris that she knew' and it is 'riddled with spies.' I will not discuss much more of the plot, as this would spoil it for future readers.

I loved this novel. It is an extremely engaging literary historical thriller. It is, at its heart, the story of a young woman placed in a very dangerous situation, all the while trying to understand her confused, complicated emotions towards two men, and comprehend the nuggets of scientific knowledge she has regarding nothing less than a possible future threat to man.
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Comment 55 of 59 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Julia Flyte TOP 100 REVIEWER on 27 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Note: In the US, this book is called "Trapeze".

Marian Sutro is bilingual: the daughter of an English father and French mother. She is recruited to be an undercover agent in France during WW2. When the book opens she is in a plane about to descend by parachute into the south of France. The book then goes back in time to explain how she was recruited, how she was trained and how she learned about her dual missions in France. Once she arrives in France she finds that it has changed significantly from the country that she once knew. But she has also changed and she approaches her tasks with a cool head and a professional demeanour.

The synopsis for this book makes it sound like a fast paced thriller, but it's more William Boyd than James Bond. The first half in particular moves quite slowly. Interestingly, the first half is written in the past tense and she is referred to as Marian. Once she arrives in France, the book moves to the present tense and she is referred to as Alice (the name by which she is known to her fellow agents). The second half has quite a different feel: it's tenser and you feel closer to Marian, who is quite distant in the early parts of the book. Towards the end, the pace and tension ratchet up and become almost unbearable. Without giving the ending away, I will say that it is quite unforgettable. I like the way that Mawer foreshadows things (for example the ending) without making it apparent what's going to happen.

I am a sucker for books about how agents are trained. If you share this obsession of mine, you'll like Restless: TV tie-in and the movie The Assignment [DVD] (1997).
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Format: Paperback
I really expected to like this book. I was inspired to pick it up after reading Elizabeth Wein's "Code Name Verity", which I loved. Women of the SOE being clever, brave, and daring in occupied France? Lots of intrigue, drama, and suspense? Yes, please. "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky" sounded like it would be right up my steet.

It wasn't. The author appears to have done a fair bit of research into SOE training and such, but neglected to give his protaganist a personality. We know that Marian's pretty, speaks French and, um, she's fiesty? That's pretty much it. It doesn't help that far too much pagespace is devoted to her romantic shenanigans, as Marian swings between two men who appear to have been written with the intention of being equally unlikable in completely different ways. Marian's actual spying activities are mostly limited to smuggling stuff up her hoo-ha and displaying terrible judgement about people. Still, the story of someone who wasn't actually very good a spying could still be compelling if well-done, right? Sadly, no. Marian's nerves about parachuting into France are, apparently, "like period pain but it wasn't her period." (That's from the book, btw. I'm not making this up.) There's no depth or development to her character to speak of - and no, saying "merde, alors" a lot isn't an adequate substitute for characterisation.

I kept on to the end because the story did have potential and I kept hoping it was going to get better. It didn't get better. The ending is pretty much a massive slap in the face. The preface of the book calls the women of the SOE brave and extraordinary, but the text of the novel itself paints them as a bit crap, really. The most frustrating thing I've read in a long while.
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