The Moment by Douglas Kennedy

The Moment
By Douglas Kennedy
Atria, $26.99









Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced writer in the midst of a rueful middle age. Living a very private life in Maine, in touch only with his daughter and still trying to recover from the end of a long marriage, his solitude is disrupted one wintry morning by the arrival of a box that is postmarked Berlin. The name on the box—Dussmann—unsettles him completely, for it belongs to the woman with whom he had an intense love affair twenty-six years ago in Berlin at a time when the city was cleaved in two and personal and political allegiances were frequently haunted by the deep shadows of the Cold War.
 Refusing initially to confront what he might find in that box, Thomas nevertheless is forced to grapple with a past he has never discussed with any living person and in the process relive those months in Berlin when he discovered, for the first and only time in his life, the full, extraordinary force of true love. But Petra Dussmann, the woman to whom he lost his heart, was not just a refugee from a police state, but also someone who lived with an ongoing sorrow that gradually rewrote both their destinies.
A love story of great epic sweep and immense emotional power, The Moment explores why and how we fall in love—and the way we project on to others that which our hearts so desperately seek. 

Douglas Kennedy's newest novel The Moment  defines and spotlights the moments that change our lives. Kennedy grasps the little things that occur in life, that in retrospect, become THE moments that change or define a life. The story is told primarily through Thomas Nesbitt's memories, as he relives his life as a travel writer in 1984 Germany, during the time of the "Berlin wall" and of a woman named Petra Dussmann.

I really loved The Moment. Kennedy uses words the way a painter uses paint on a canvas, highlighting the highs and shadowing the lows. For those who don't remember the Cold War time frame, The Moment serves as a brilliant learning opportunity, a chance to see the world as it was, to see the heartbreak of two people divided by a political system that robbed people of the freedom to live and their freedom to love. Kennedy also clearly uses Nesbitt's remembrances as a way to remind us that even the smallest decision, the smallest moment can haunt us forever.  Nesbitt's decisions touch and forever mark the life of another woman and mold the life of his daughter.

Forever changed and forever haunted, once Nesbitt receives Petra's box, Nesbitt finally tries to come to terms with his choices at the important moments of his life.

This is a book that I'll keep, it's on my book shelf now, and I'll read it again and will surely see something else in it that I missed during the first read. But isn't that the way moments are in retrospect?

I give The Moment 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

This galley was provided to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.

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