THE INCIDENT by KENNETH MACLEOD.
Craig was a young lifeguard in Germany when two children died on his watch. It should never have happened. He was an expert swimmer. His grandfather, Gordon, was on board a ship torpedoed during World War II. He survived by clinging to the floating body of a colleague. Years later, he met one of the men who attacked his ship. Gerd is a refugee of the Cold War. Recruited by the Stasi as a teenager, he escaped to the West after his mission went terribly wrong. He never went back.
..... Inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Part 1): It was my grandfather who taught me to swim.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 173): Because regardless of whether they'd succumbed to years of propaganda and convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, or whether they were simply scared, the end result was the same. Betrayal.
MY THOUGHTS: Much as I enjoyed this debut novel, with it's almost exclusive male cast, its at times overuse of crude language and the rather graphic nature of 'Gerd's story' I can't help but think that this might be a novel more enjoyed by men.
The story of three men all with their own harrowing story to tell, ultimately, all three stories tell of how one moment in time can change a life forever.
A bit disappointing that so little attention was paid to 'The Incident' whilst so much was given over to minute detail, I did feel that at times the author went into over-drive with his descriptions.
Character wise:- Though I didn't at the beginning like Craig and his friend/ colleague, Gerd, I thought them well-written and, all credit to the author, by the end of the book I had some empathy with Craig and a certain amount of respect for Gerd whose story I felt to be the most compelling even if it didn't somehow fit in as cohesively as Craig's grandfather's story.
In many ways quite philosophical in nature, though I didn't always find this an easy read, I did find it an interesting, compelling and original one.
Published in issue number 74 of NewBooks magazine.
DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.