July 06, 2012

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky - Simon Mawer

Mawer’s book, The Glass Room, was a complete winner for me when I read it in 2009 so I had no hesitations in picking up his new book, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. Even though I finished the book at the end of last month I am going to cheat a little and include it in my Paris in July reading list as so much of the book took place in Paris and rural France.
I can’t say that I found The Girl Who Fell From the Sky quite as captivating and original as The Glass Room but it was still a wonderful read.
The book is set during WW2, the main character Marian Sutro is a young half British/half French woman working for a war department in London when she approached by a secret agency to train for undercover work in France. It all seems a little surreal and convenient the way she is recruited but I guess that is how things were done?? I would like to read some actual accounts from women who had worked in these sorts of positions and agencies during war time to compare - although I am sure Mawer did his research. As well as her role as an undercover agent there is very much a personal side to Marian’s story as her arrival in Paris during the German occupation brings her into direct contact with a past family friend and potential lover, Clement.
There are all the elements of a traditional spy story here with undercover missions, double agents and a feeling on behalf of the reader that we are never really quite sure who’s side everyone is on. But there is also very much the coming of age story of Marian.

Beautiful, tight prose keep the story moving and although this book didn’t hold the same magic as The Glass Room for me it was still a fantastic story with characters to cling to.


Simon Mawer said...

Yes, it was exactly how they were recruited!

Mrs. Fry said...

This normally would be exactly the kind of book I gravitate towards, but I am trying to broaden my horizons, but I am so tempted to add it to my book list.

Unknown said...

I loved both this book and The Glass Room, but I preferred this one. I can see that The Glass Room is more complex and has more layers, but I found The Girl Who Fell From the Sky so engaging. I loved Marian's story and that ending was fantastic. Glad you enjoyed it too.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I desperately need to find some good books set in Paris. I am off to add Glass Room to my wish list.

bibliolathas said...

This sounds just like my cup of tea!

Anbolyn said...

I love reading about female spies so I will definitely have to check this one out!
BTW, it is called 'Trapeze' in the States.

Julie Goucher said...

I have posted two book related posts - http://www.anglersrest.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/weekend-cooking-little-paris-kitchen-by.html

and a rather loose connection to Paris - http://www.anglersrest.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/strangers-in-strange-land-belgian.html

Karen said...

Hi Brenda - I know what you mean, I try to read outside my comfort zone too but some books are just too tempting!

Hi Jackie - I think The Glass Room just blew me away when I read it - I still have that initial reaction to it in my mind which is actually quite rare for me!

Hi Deb - I hope you enjoy it!

Hi bibliolathas - I hope it is!

Hi Anbolyn - That is such an interesting name change for the book - I think The Girl Who Fell From the Sky suits it much better...

Hi Anglers Rest - thanks so much for these links - I am about to add a Mr Linky post for our Paris in July Week 1 wrap up so be sure to add them there.

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