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Leaving Berlin: A Novel by Joseph Kanon
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Leaving Berlin: A Novel (2015)

by Joseph Kanon

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4212225,173 (3.63)31
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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I really have to wonder if maybe I don't believe in love? Or have a different idea of what love is ...? because the "love story" in this book is complete BS and I want to bitch slap Irene for being so damn annoying, and Alex for actually getting involved with her. Lust and love are not the same ... a summer of sex is not love ... and argh!

Other than that ... wow!

Adrianne ( )
  Adrianne_p | May 25, 2018 |
I listened to this novel and I expected it to be the thrill ride that The Good German was. It isn't. The narration is good, but the cool tones and the pacing of the narrator probably effected how I "Read" this novel. It was good enough, but it just didn't take off in the way I expect from a spy thriller set in the very conception of the Cold War. The novel is set in Berlin in 1949 as the city is slowly being divided between East and West and living with the Berlin Blockade is a way of life. On the U. S. side, the Red Scare of the 1950's is taking root and many Jewish immigrants to Hollywood are caught in that net. These people are sent back to Germany to serve as spies for the fledgling CIA. That is the environment of the novel, but unfortunately it just doesn't quite pull off a thrilling spy story. Since the hero returns to his home in the East it is clear this is the beginning of a series. Unlike other spy series, it is a series that I won't be quick to pursue. I rate it as an average spy novel, but nothing to get excited about. ( )
  benitastrnad | Apr 30, 2018 |
Berlin, 1948. Almost four years after the war’s end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors.

Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment—to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? At betrayal? Survival? Murder? Joseph Kanon’s compelling thriller is a love story that brilliantly brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.
  Gmomaj | Nov 4, 2017 |
Alex Meier fled Germany as a young man, and then returned to Berlin in 1948, forced out of the US when he refused to cooperate with Senator McCarthy. The Soviets are eager to build their stable of prominent writers and Meier is in need of a country. His real intention is to find a way to return to his son in the US, but as both the Americans and the East Germans are eager to use him, the possibility of doing so becomes more unlikely than ever. He also meets up with people from his past, people who were scarred by the war and who have agendas of their own.

Joseph Kanon knows Berlin and he's good at both writing morally complex characters and intricate plots. With Leaving Berlin, he's playing to his strengths. This is a fun spy thriller, with a bunch of twists and a large dose of moral ambiguity. It was a solid vacation read. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Aug 25, 2017 |
You must read Joseph Kanon, friends said. You'll love him. I should have chosen another book because this is a plodding disappointment. ( )
  Faradaydon | Jul 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Kanon populates the blasted landscape of Berlin, in which the Third Reich has been replaced by yet another odious regime, with a gallery of corrupted characters
 
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For Martha, Gregg, and Tess
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Berlin divided
But before the Wall is built
The Cold War Begins.
(pickupsticks)

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"From the bestselling author of Istanbul Passage--called a "fast-moving thinking man's thriller" by The Wall Street Journal--comes a sweeping, atmospheric novel of postwar East Berlin, a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation. Berlin 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors. Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment--to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? Betrayal? Survival? Murder? Filled with intrigue, and the moral ambiguity of conflicted loyalties, Joseph Kanon's new novel is a compelling thriller and a love story that brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life"--… (more)

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