AN HONEST MAN
By Ben Fergusson
This is the third book in Fergusson’s Berlin novels, which kicked off with the very popular crime novel The Spring Of Kasper Meier.
The books are linked by their setting in the same Berlin apartment building. Like the previous books, An Honest Man is set at a fascinating time in Berlin’s history: 1989 and the months leading up to the collapse of communism in East Germany and the breaching of the Wall.
Eighteen-year-old Ralf has just left school and plans to spend a final glorious summer with his girlfriend Maike and two best friends. But an encounter with Turkish-German Oz, leads Ralf into a secretive sexual affair with him and unleashes many uncertainties, not only regarding his sexuality.
Oz has secrets, yet so does Ralf’s mother, a psychologist whose clients include some prominent military men. Then there’s their musician neighbour, Tobias, who Oz suspects is working for the Stasi. In this hothouse atmosphere of paranoia and subterfuge, the novel slowly builds to a truly surprising twist as East Germany crumbles.
This is a first-class spy novel – intriguing and highly atmospheric – yet it’s also a very moving love story. Readers who enjoyed Tomasz Jedrowski’s acclaimed Swimming In The Dark will also enjoy this love story.