Meanwhile, Over At Quadrapheme: Tightrope, by Simon Mawer

Meanwhile, Over At Quadrapheme is my new way of showcasing the work I do for Quadrapheme: 21st Century Literature. It’s an online literary review for which I’m the managing editor. I also still write reviews, and compile a monthly two-part list of books being released that month.


My latest review for them is of Simon Mawer’s Cold War espionage novel Tightrope, which I was really impressed with: a simmering political atmosphere to rival Le Carre, emotional damage to rival Graham Greene (only with more sex), and no feeling of anachronism. A heartily recommended smart summer read:

Simon Mawer’s novel Tightrope (Little Brown, June 2015) belongs to a rare breed: the spy story that works by way of a slow burn, the thriller that takes its time. Its main character, Marian Sutro, is a 22-year-old Special Ops recruit and survivor of Ravensbruck, the Nazi concentration camp specifically for and run by women; we first meet her as she is being returned to England, where neither her commanding officers nor her parents have the faintest idea what to do with her. Her experiences of arrest, torture and the camp are so utterly beyond civilian comprehension, and the middle-class British milieu so deeply invested in not talking about things and ‘getting on’, that it could hardly be otherwise.

You can read the rest of the review here.

2 thoughts on “Meanwhile, Over At Quadrapheme: Tightrope, by Simon Mawer

  1. Picked this up from the library this morning. Now the question is how can I clear the weekend so that I can read it without interruption?

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