An initially-slight tale, which grows and grows right up to its end, as slight lives desperately try to grow themselves into something important without completely relinquishing the comforts to which they have accustomed themselves.
Emerson writes with an almost nineteenth-century reserve which aptly suits her characters and relates as well to Greene’s place in the literature of espionage and political machinations. Her purposes in writing are manifold but gratefully, they materialize gradually out of the mist of incident, rather than being trumpeted or italicized in authorial asides or straw-man puppetry.
The ultimate impression is that one has been given a glimpse of one corner of human existence (or two perhaps, the one being Molly & Bertie’s well-meaning Princeton idle-class existence, the other the deadly-intrigue filled politics of Algeria on the edge of civil war) with the curtain pulled aside to expose what would more-typically be left hidden and thus deniable.
This debut novel by a former N Y Times correspondent is a winner, and one to re-read again someday.