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Review: The Moment

May 24, 2011

Just as Thomas Nesbitt begins to settle into his life as a newly divorced, middle-aged  man he receives a package that disconcerts him.  It’s postmarked Berlin and the last name on the return address is that of a woman he had a passionate love affair with twenty five years before.  At first, Thomas is reluctant to open the box, afraid of what he might find inside.  He opens it, of course, and what he finds makes him confront his past and realize he had his “moment” years ago in Berlin.

In 1984, Thomas was a young writer living in West Berlin to research his second book.  He got a job at Radio Liberty, where he met a young translator, Petra Dussman.  Petra was from East Berlin and had recently been allowed in the west after a political exchange.  She was forced to give her son up for adoption and all she can think about is getting him back.

I don’t even know where to begin when talking about The Moment by Douglas Kennedy, because I really don’t feel like I can do it justice.  The book started out a little slow for me but, to be fair, I was distracted when I started it.  It didn’t take long for the book to grab my attention, though, and once it did all I wanted to do was read it.

The characters in The Moment are so well drawn, that I felt their pain and suffered with them.  They’re young, passionate and full of hope for the future.  I cried more than once as I read this book.  The minor characters are well written, too – I had strong feelings about most of them as well.

The plot doesn’t suffer because of the character development.  This story is fantastic and full of historical detail about a city divided.  It takes place at time when the Berlin Wall was intact and people were tense on both sides of it.  Kennedy showed how oppressed the people in the East were and that the people in the West weren’t quite as free as they thought.  It made me realize that people who lived in the Soviet empire couldn’t trust anyone – not even their spouse.  I can’t imagine living under that kind of stress and strain, and after reading this book, I can truly understand why they had such a problem with alcohol addiction.

I loved everything about this book!  Kennedy’s writing is absolutely gorgeous – it’s easy to get caught up in his prose.  It’s basically a story of the power of love and it’s breathtaking.  The story and the characters are outstanding.  Don’t let the size of this book turn you away – it’s one you don’t want to miss.


My book club read The Moment for our May selection.  No one missed the meeting and every single member loved the book.  One member said she thought about seventy five pages could have been edited out of the book, but that was the only negative comment I heard.  Everyone thought Kennedy’s writing was wonderful and we even discussed words that we had to look up as we read the book.

The book led us to discussions of love, regret, government and dealing with the past.  We also talked about the cover – everyone thought it was lovely, but no one felt that it reflected the contents of the book.  One member said she loved the book so much, she has already read another of Kennedy’s books, A Special Relationship, and loved it too.  Our experience proves The Moment makes a wonderful book club selection.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2011 6:05 am

    Awesome. Even the title is compelling. I’m going to have to get my hands on this one.

  2. May 24, 2011 6:47 am

    Your review makes me want to read the book! Don”t always like books where the main charcter is a man bu this one appeals to me.

  3. May 24, 2011 6:49 am

    I love it when the characters are so well-written that you are able to feel strongly for them. I must add this to my reading list. Thanks for the review!

  4. May 24, 2011 9:03 am

    Great review, Kathy. Totally makes me want to read the book. Also, I’m happy to hear about your book club’s experience. I’m always looking for good books to add to that particular list of suggestions.

  5. May 24, 2011 10:11 am

    I am sure I have a book by Douglas Kennedy in my collection. Isn’t that bad that I can’t recall it.

  6. May 24, 2011 10:27 am

    This sounds like such a great novel Kathy and one I’m sure I’d like. I’m glad you and your book club enjoyed it so much.

  7. May 24, 2011 10:27 am

    Oh, this does sound wonderful, and full of emotion charged scenes. I hadn’t yet heard of this one before, but after reading your excellent review, I am all over it! Thanks for you enthusiasm in sharing this one with us!

  8. May 24, 2011 11:03 am

    This does sound like an excellent read for a book club. I love that the author was able to develop the characters, setting, and story simultaneously. Good to know that the pain, anxiety, and oppression during that time was accurately conveyed as well. Your wonderful review has me adding this to my list!

  9. May 24, 2011 11:23 am

    I thought I had a e-book copy of this but alas it has disappeared. I will have to keep an eye out for a paper copy of it after reading your glowing review. It does sound like a great read.

  10. May 24, 2011 11:23 am

    Nice review! would love to read it.

  11. May 24, 2011 12:11 pm

    I’ve been meaning to read Kennedy’s books, this one sounds like a winner. Adding it to my TBR list.

  12. May 24, 2011 1:45 pm

    I haven’t read a book set in Berlin! And this looks to be a great choice for it! I’m going to check this out.

  13. May 24, 2011 2:14 pm

    Wow, another must-read. Thanks, Kathy!

  14. May 24, 2011 3:13 pm

    Great review!! I am excited about this one!

  15. May 24, 2011 3:14 pm

    I do like characters that are well made. I want to feel with them, feel everything they go through

  16. May 24, 2011 4:11 pm

    This sounds like a book for me. I’m fascinated by the division of Berlin. I would love to get my hands on this book. thanks for the review.

  17. May 24, 2011 6:39 pm

    I read Kennedy for the first time last year, A Very Special Relationship, and I was blown away. I just couldn’t put that book down. Nice to know that one was the rule and not the exception; I will definitely read him again after reading your review 🙂

  18. May 24, 2011 7:07 pm

    Years ago Douglas Kennedy novels were difficult to find in the US, he is a phenomenal hit in France where he is loved. I am happy to see his books in the US, I believe one book is being made into a movie.
    Thank-you for your review Kathy 🙂

  19. May 24, 2011 7:14 pm

    Sounds like another excellent read to add to my list….loved your thoughts on this one.

  20. May 24, 2011 8:22 pm

    Douglas Kennedy must be an exceptional writer. I will add this one to my TBR list.

  21. Pam Keener permalink
    May 24, 2011 9:24 pm

    It didn’t take long for the book to grab my attention, though, and once it did all I wanted to do was read it.
    That sealed the review for me as a must read. Thanks
    Love & Hugs,

  22. May 24, 2011 9:29 pm

    Great authors make you go out and read their backlist. Both you and your book club have convinced me to add this to the tbr. Thanks Kathy 🙂
    And no, the cover doesn’t seem to go with the story.

  23. May 24, 2011 11:30 pm

    I read Kennedy’s last book and enjoyed and am looking forward to this one. Wow, you loved it so I’m really looking forward to it now!

  24. May 25, 2011 12:42 pm

    It’s so strange for me to see this review on your blog….wonderful, too. I was at a new local bookstore recently and came across Douglas Kennedy and his books. I’d never heard of him or his books but so many of them sounded interesting and the covers were great, too.
    So when I realized the author of The Moment is Douglas Kennedy I was excited, even more so when you said you loved everything about the book! It sounds like a riveting story with fascinating characters!
    Thank you for a great review, Kathy!

  25. May 25, 2011 1:02 pm

    I can tell by your review that you really, really liked this book. That’s enough for me. It’s going on my list.

  26. stacybuckeye permalink
    May 25, 2011 1:44 pm

    If everyone in your group loved it that says something. I do love the cover but it doesn’t seem to match the review.

  27. May 25, 2011 5:05 pm

    Hi Kathy,

    I have picked up Douglas Kennedy books so often, read the synopsis and put them back on the shelves.

    After reading your review of ‘The Moment’ and being in the middle of a similar style book, of intense character analysis, I shall definitely be adding this author to my wish list.

    This is a style of writing that I am getting well into right now, and this book definitely fits the specification.

    I have to agree with other commenters, that the cover doesn’t really do the book justice and after some research, I really think that the UK version of the cover is definitely more expressive and appropriate … what do you think?

  28. May 26, 2011 8:13 pm

    Wow, this sounds fantastic!

  29. May 26, 2011 8:33 pm

    Wow! That sounds like a fantastic read. Just hearing the concept got me interested. And I imagine you don’t often get a book that everyone in the book club loves … so it must be special.

  30. May 28, 2011 8:27 am

    I so want to read this one after hearing you rave about it! So many books……

  31. May 29, 2011 12:28 pm

    You are so lucky to have this amazing book group! Mine comprises of Mrs Q and I 🙂

  32. June 2, 2011 2:29 am

    I have the ebook version of this book. I wasn’t quite sure about it but your review has my mind made up. I want to read this book!

  33. June 6, 2011 7:32 pm

    I’ve never read anything by the author but the story sounds compelling. I can’t begin to imagine myself receiving something like that and having to deal with it, especially my past. I love how the character development was great and although slow at first, it turned out to be a wonderful read. I’ve had a couple of those, too.

  34. June 10, 2011 10:11 am

    Great review! This one sounds very interesting.

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