Ariel Dorfman, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $17 (177p) ISBN 978-0-374-18218-2
The gifted and versatile Dorfman's new novel, written almost entirely in dialogue, develops an almost unbearable intensity as it charts the relationship between its two principal characters in a time setting that is deliberately left vague. A woman, Barbara, has been brought to Paris to see Martin, her lover. At her hotel, she takes a phone call from Leon, who claims to be Martin's friend and informs her that her lover is doing resistance work and could soon be in great danger. During a series of phone calls that lasts for nine hours, alliances shift and the nature of the men's political mission becomes both more and, paradoxically, less clear. Leon, a skilled manipulator, seduces Barbara with words, yet he clearly wants something from her that isn't entirely sexual. By the time their political and personal situations are entirely obvious to the reader, nothing is as it first seemed. A political novel as well as an acute study in character and obsession, complete with interspersed commentary apparently addressed to the reader and the novelist equally, this brief, tightly constructed work addresses multiple themes. Dorfman uses the tension of an unstable political situation to force the reader into questioning his characters' stated truths, as well as their motivations. Exhilarating for its finely tuned unfolding but somber in its conclusions, Konfidenz demands a fundamental reexamination of the nature of trust. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/1995
Release date: 01/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
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