The Unwitting

Spiegel & Grau. May 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780812993448. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780679645511. F
During the most feverish and frightening years of the Cold War, the thuggery, domestic oppression, and international ambitions of the Soviet Union were evident. Less evident, however, were the various American responses to the Soviet threat. In this gripping, meticulously researched historical novel, Feldman returns to these dangerous times and the troubling moral questions that arose in conjunction with the increasingly sinister activities of the CIA in its efforts to counteract the global aspirations of the Soviets. As the novel unfolds, Feldman's young, idealistic, and skillfully drawn protagonist, Nell, an investigative reporter who writes for a prestigious New York intellectual journal, the Compass, begins to uncover some of these unsavory criminal activities. It turns out that the Compass itself is funded by the CIA, and her husband, its editor, has been complicit with this arrangement. The novel examines the complex, shifting emotional landscape of Nell's marriage, along with her increasingly conflicted relationship with her country and her ideals.
VERDICT A deep and disarming book about politics, human relationships, and love, from a writer renowned for her historical novels (Next to Love; Scottsboro; Lucy) that fans of literary fiction will enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 11/3/13.]
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