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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

A Cold War Comedy

The Russian Interpreter - Michael Frayn

The Russian Interpreter is the story of a British academic based at Moscow University who becomes embroiled in an piece of minor espionage through no fault of his own. It’s funny, quirky and entertaining. Unlike most spy stories the focus is on character rather than plot but then Michael Frayn is not a writer of genre fiction but a literary novelist. There’s a lot of of playing with ideas which is rather characteristic of Frayn, and an emphasis on the aburdity of both the public and private posturing which we impose on others and our ourselves. It’s not profoundly moving but it’s certainly diverting.