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The Moment [Paperback]

Douglas Kennedy
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012

Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced American writer living a very private life in Maine. Until, one wintry morning, his solitude is disrupted by the arrival of a package postmarked Berlin.

But what is more unsettling is the name accompanying the return address on the package: Petra Dussmann. For she is the woman with whom Thomas had an intense love affair twenty-five years before in a divided Berlin, where people lived fearfully under the shadows of the Cold War.

And so Thomas is forced to grapple with a past he has always kept hidden. For Petra Dussman was a refugee from the police state of East Germany. And her tragic secrets were to re-write both their destinies.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099509741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099509745
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Kennedy is an absolute master at love stories with heart-stopping twists ... The Moment is simply sensational." (Times)

"His most ambitious to date and most deeply felt." (Daily Mirror)

"The storytelling is served up thick and meaty ... the result is a big, satisfying read." (Daily Mail)

"Kennedy, like William Boyd and Paul Watkins, has always managed to walk that precarious tight-rope of credibility between the twin towers of popular and literary fiction... Kennedy is particularly adept at capturing the ugliness of modern life... He captures with acuity men's self-destructive nature and the eddies in which husbands, fathers and sons find themselves caught." (Independent on Sunday)

"Douglas Kennedy's 10th novel, The Moment, a tome running to almost 500 pages, is weighty enough to crush any doubts about this prolific author's status as a stylish popular novelist and a classy purveyor of the gripping yarn... It is the quality of evaluation, this conscious appraisal of unforeseen loss, of gallant naivety, of the bullish youthful belief in the right to happiness, that sets Kennedy's work apart from that of many other popular novelists... It is a gripping read and an honest attempt to address human frailty while playing out our minor destinies in the face of great love and desperate loss." (Irish Times)

Book Description

A secret from the past can change your life for ever. A heart-breaking love story set in Cold War Berlin by the author of The Pursuit of Happiness and Five Days.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Both hits and misses 27 Aug 2011
In some ways this book is great. Great initial plot idea, great setting for most of the action- 1980s divided Berlin, and a very readable story that hooks you quickly and makes you want to keep reading. All classic Kennedy. But there are problems. Particularly towards the end of the book, much of the action seems unbelievable (and yes I realize it's fiction! I'm talking about characters' actions) and happens only to push the story along. I realize all stories need to do that but I feel it could have been done a bit better. My biggest complaint is that some major action that take place towards the beginning of the book and a plot point that takes place at the beginning of Petra and Thomas' love story are never mentioned again or resolved- I can't believe the editor of this book let those things go! I got the feeling Kennedy got bored writing this at the end because neglecting such things is seriously lazy from a writing standpoint. I also feel Kennedy is suffering a bit from the "Mary Sue" syndrome as the main character's job and much said about it I suspect are more than a little similar to the author's life. And also I GET that the book is set in the 1980s but do we really need yet another tragic, tortured gay character? Surely there were happy gays in the 1980s? (Another character we never hear about once the action moves to the present day, by the way.)

But! As I said there are good things! A generally readable story - finished the book in 2 days! Loved the description of 1980s decadent wasteland West Berlin as well as 'going behind the Iron Curtain' - and one exchange that takes place there really captures the feeling of paranoia among citizens of the former GDR. And, though some were evident from the outset, there were some really great twists that I didn't see coming.

Not quite as good Kennedy's best work. But still a fun read.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF HIS BEST 1 Aug 2011
By Amanda TOP 500 REVIEWER
Really enjoy reading Douglas Kennedy and absolutely loved this book. A few people had told me that it was a slow beginning but I have to disagree as I found myself completely absorbed from the start. This story is about a very intense love affair between two people living in Berlin pre the wall coming down. It was not only of great historical interest but also a very good insight into the lives of so many people who were affected by the cold war. An excellent and well written novel.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull moment.... 30 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even as a keen Kennedy fan, I've got to say that this novel just doesn't make the grade; it offers one dull, tedious, reading experience. Set in the 1980s before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, it is obvious upon reading 'Moments' that Kennedy had done his research - maybe too much so. Rather than evoking the place/era through description, he constantly drops in the names of real German streets and locations, almost as if he had Google Earth up on his computer as he wrote the novel. It took a couple of hundred pages for the story's main protaganists to meet, leaving me to wonder at some points if the story was ever going to get going and gather pace. The European characters were also rather cliched, with most bars being filled with cynical, smoking, sardonic patrons. The passionate romance at the centre of the story was equally unoriginal in its depiction - with the couple alternately 'falling' or 'tumbling' into bed. I suspect that as Kennedy is one of the highest earners in his publishing house's stable, they are a little reluctant to edit him quite as much as they would with a new writer. The result is a rambling effort, which never quite engages. He can definitely do better than this! If you're new to Kennedy, save your cash and get one of his earlier efforts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better! 6 April 2012
By Jan
There is an intriguing story in here somewhere, but it gets a bit lost in the nearly 650 pages! Writer Thomas Nesbitt is looking back to the time when he was living in the divided city of Berlin. The wall that will eventually come down is very much in place and movement between the two halves of the city is difficult, not to mention potentially dangerous. He rents a room from a drug addicted, gay artist and gets a job with a radio station so he can keep body and soul together while he gathers material for his travel book about the city of Berlin. Then he meets Petra and he falls in love for the first time in his life. Petra is from East Berlin and she seems reluctant to talk about her former husband and her life before she came to the West, but our hero loves her unconditionally and plans to take her back to the USA. ....

I congratulate Mr Kennedy on his research. The darker side of Cold war Berlin with its seedy bars and shabby streets is well described and the tension, even fear, that is imposed by the very presence of the wall is evident even before his plane lands in the city - but the book is just too long! Bits of the story are repetitive and other bits are too long winded. It takes an age for Petra to tell her story when she finally gets round to it. The pace of the story is much too slow and the book suffers because of it. What on earth was the editor doing? Actually there are also one or two errors in the story which I feel should have been noticed before publication. E.g. Tom phones the drug addicted, gay artist to arrange to see the flat - but there after there is no phone in the flat and Tom has to run to the cafe to phone for help after Alastair has been attacked. Maybe I missed the scene where the phone was disconnected!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, historical, romantic everything you want in a novel
I coincidentally began this book, whilst on a four day trip to Berlin with my son. I loved the fact that I had been to many of the places in the novel and reading it was like... Read more
Published 6 days ago by H. Goodwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 days ago by Julie Frost
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
A wonderful love story with a very sad twist. It held my attention throughout so that I took every opportunity to read more.
Published 14 days ago by M E HEARD
3.0 out of 5 stars A hol read for if in Berlin
Descriptive parts of the book about the Wall and Berlin come across as authentic. Some of the narrator's 'reflections' are a bit long winded so fail to engage. Read more
Published 19 days ago by a purchaer
5.0 out of 5 stars Douglas Kennedy at his best
one of Douglas Kennedys best novels. I am reading it for the second time and enjoying it as much as the first time. An excellent read.
Published 1 month ago by williampendry
4.0 out of 5 stars the. moment
Exceellent read and great characters. Chosen for bookclub and everyone iz enjoying it. Will be sorry when it ends. Would highly re ommend this book.
Published 3 months ago by Christine McEwen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Excellent read and have passed it on to others who feel the same as they are recommending to their friends
Published 3 months ago by Mr. C. J. Hooker
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but unusual
I am a Douglas Kennedy fan and this book just failed to hit the mark. It is an interesting story and very thought provoking but without his usual depth and plot detail.
Published 4 months ago by Serious Snapper
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Douglas Kennedy has the knack of writing books that are totally correct in details but compelling to read. Highly recommended
Published 4 months ago by sheila
5.0 out of 5 stars Douglas Kennedy The Moment
I loved this book as I did with all Douglas Kennedy books. I find him very unpredictable and he doesn't go for the mushy typical ending. A most enjoyable read.
Published 4 months ago by alan mussett
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