Archives for Cold War

‘Space’, a short story

‘Ground Control to Major Tom.’ The thin tune came from his mother’s mouth, not the radio which was spouting some rubbish about cruising down the Nile. ‘Take your protein pill and put your big hat on.’ John stood in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, his mother was in her wing chair by the picture window in the lounge, a crochet rug over her knees. ‘I’m floating in the most pa-pa-queue-lee-ar way,’ she sang. ‘Rocket ma-an-aan-‘ He poured the boiling water over the teabags, gave it a swirl and a squeeze then poured out two mugs of tea. ‘That’s Elton, Mum. Not Bowie.’ He offered her the fine bone china mug with a pattern of bluebells which was her particular mug ‘Thank you dear… and I think it’s going to be a very long time-‘ ‘That’s Elton. The first bit’s Bowie.’ ‘I know, Jimmy, I know. But it’s what we sang, for fun.’ He worked hard at not smiling, not wanting to upset her. She was always doing this, getting his name wrong. Wrong facts, wrong lyrics, wrong singer. ‘Where?’ ‘Where what, dear?’ ‘Where did you sing?’ ‘Oh, at Mission Control.’ He did smile now, his mother didn’t have
Read More

Categories: My Short Stories.

Book review: Exposure

This is a powerful novel by Helen Dunmore about the effect of the Cold War on one family, thrilling yet subtle. One night in 1960, Simon Callington’s colleague falls and breaks a leg. He rings Simon and asks him to go to his flat, retrieve a document he had taken home from work, and return it to their office. And so begins a tale of official secrets, spies, cover-ups, all told through the prism of this one family, the Callingtons. This is not a traditional spy novel, there are no car chases or killings, but it is taut with tension and threat felt within the routine domesticity of Callingtons’ home. The impact of Giles’s plea for help, and Simon’s subsequent actions, changes everyone’s lives. They are living in a time of secrets and suspicion. Lily, Simon’s wife, is a German Jew brought to England by her mother before the Second World War. As a child, Lily was taught by her mother to fit in with the English, to hide her foreignness. Her life is one of secrets and covering up, when suddenly it becomes real; her husband is accused of espionage, of passing secrets to the Russians. Lily is convinced
Read More

Categories: Book Love.