One Small Moment

Christopher Tayler

  • Spies by Michael Frayn
    Faber, 224 pp, £14.99, February 2002, ISBN 0 571 21286 7

Michael Frayn’s new novel is a loss-of-innocence story in which an elderly narrator is prompted to disinter long-buried memories of a particular time and place. Slowly at first, a narrative begins to emerge: a golden summer, a semi-rural idyll, the first stirrings of adolescence. Rather than having a poignant romance with someone close to his own age, though, the protagonist becomes embroiled in adult affairs which he is ill-equipped to understand. Childish misapprehensions unearth grown-up betrayals, with unhappy results for everyone concerned; and the narrator is left with a lifelong unease that can only be confronted and examined from the perspective of old age.

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