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on 30 May 2017
This excellently written novel engages the reader as though they were there. It's a time in history we should all be aware of - and yet, the heartfelt story running through it is so real and so believable. It tackles some thorny subjects but leaves the reader with a greater understanding of that time in history. I was unable to put it down.
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on 22 August 2017
Excellent, good writer.
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on 18 May 2017
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on 30 April 2013
More of the same from Douglas Kennedy. He's a good writer but he needs a new theme. Getting tired of the "run away from disaster; create new cosy home; find another disaster'' scenarios. Come on Doug get some inspiration!
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on 4 June 2011
I have read several of D. K's novels and enjoyed them -ie. Leaving the world which I liked very much and recommed. I read a lot, and most of the time I prefer more "intellectual" stuff than these novels. Neverthelsess, D.K. often tells good stories offering the reader rather thought provoking main characters and stories. The Moment is not quite of the same quality. So far I have read only a bit more than half of the novel and time and again I struggle to keep on reading. Having read so far, I tell myself that I can just as well stick to it. The setting appealed to me (having been to West and East Berlin and seen the wall just before it came down). Kennedy takes his time when narrating - we sense that something big is about to happen, but he takes too much time to get to the point(and when the important events are narrated - well they didn't exactly transport me, as a reader, deeply into the story). There is a sugary love story, filled with romantic platitudes and pulp ficiton dialogues. When it comes to the character Petra I started to guess what had happened early on in the story, and I was right - something which, in this case, isn't a very good sign. One of my main objections is that D. K. uses too much space to tell his story. The reader would be better off with a stripped down version of the book. Furthermore, the sirupy scenes should have been left out.
If the second part of the novel changes my view, I'll get back and write about it.

The numerous spelling mistakes in this copy annoy me. As a reader I expect quality to quantity; publishers, please avoid (so many) spelling mistakes - it's disappointing! And now I hope I haven't made too many of them myself (being a Norwegian)...

When it comes to D. K. I recommend: Leaving the World (or: State of the Union, The Pursuit of Happiness).
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on 30 May 2011
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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American travel writer Thomas Nesbitt meets Petra in Berlin, fresh over from the Eastern bloc, falls in love and then, twenty five years later we find out the truth about how it all ended - from Petra's point of view.

Had the book been half the size it might have been excellent. Being the length it is, there is just too much to irritate. In "The Pursuit Of Happiness" everyone was "so damn handsome" and "so damn Irish", here they are so damn jumpy/good/nice/perfect/easy or even too damn hard to bear. And everyone "senses" everything - why can't they think or guess like everyone else? And why does a grown man obsess so much over his clothes? Why does everyone drink so much coffee and smoke so many cigarettes? Why is everyone so sardonic/acerbic -I got so accustomed to the constant wisecracking, jeering tone, that when a character at the end was presumably being portrayed with some kind of autism to excuse his bluntness, I hadn't noticed the difference.

Petra did not convince me as a mother missing her child. She insisted that she was bereft without him, but there was absolutely no detail of the routine life she had lived with him or the closeness they had shared, eating, dressing, playing, reading, bathing etc.

I know it was there in the text, but I was shocked when reading Petra's account of her first meeting with Thomas, to remember that he had been in his mid twenties - because he came over like a late middle aged, world weary hack with all his life experiences behind him.

It's a shame the length and irritating repetitions made the book tedious, because the final quarter started to be exciting, and had it not been so laboured, the descriptions of "superbia" or discovering true love, vs world weary cynicism, (Rilke quotes and all) were interesting.
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on 27 August 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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on 1 August 2011
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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on 18 February 2012
A self confessed Douglas Kennedy fan, I awaited the release of The Moment with great anticipation. I started reading it last year and for some reason moved away from it and left it half read. I picked it up last week and started from the beginning again. I was a little upset that I hadn't devoured it the first time around and wondered if this was going to be the first of Kennedy's novels that I didn't "get" right away.
I was enchanted from the start.
Thomas Nesbitt is a bit pompous, thinks a lot of himself and whilst he confesses to "running away" all the time, I did warm to him - I think it was the brutal honesty of his own admissions to being a husband who always had one eye on the door, ready to escape as soon as emotional things got tough.
I fell in love with Alistair's character, I can imagine his voice - a bit Richard E Grant in Withnail and I perhaps?
Then entered Petra. This is where my emotional roller coaster started. Thomas fell completely in love with her; it was reciprocated and yet there was always that niggle at the back of mind that something was going to snap. When it came I felt indignant for Thomas - how could she do that to him?
And then the story unfolds more and we see Petra's journals. I found myself shaking my head and thinking "if only"
That is what this whole book brought to me; that "if only" feeling.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another beautifully written and discriptive story of love and loss. Lost and found, found and lost.
Well done Mr Kennedy and thank you for sharing your stories and imagination again.
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