“Fantastic...the thriller element of the story moves at a belting pace.”
A book of betrayals and borders, real and imagined, and of deceptions and desires, which beautifully and dramatically evokes the spectres of Korea’s past and the divisions of its present in ways reminiscent of Graham Greene’s ‘The Quiet American’ or Ian McEwan’s ‘The Innocent.’
An impressively layered and carefully constructed novel, its characters caught between languages, loyalties and worlds. Hannah Michell’s portrait of Seoul fascinates too: its dust and neon, sweat and suspicion seem worked deep into the fabric of her novel. But what catches you by surprise is the slowly-revealed audacity of her plot as suspicions and misunderstandings escalate into an international crisis. Having already earned comparison to Ian McEwan, she’s an author worth watching.
Much of the pleasure of reading ‘The Defections’ comes from seeing the different plotlines play off against each other, as a perfectly explicable detail from one character’s viewpoint becomes open to misinterpretation when seen from another. We also see how easily the personal may slide into the political for these individuals. Michell has created an engaging novel which leaves the reader intrigued to see what she will write next.
Copyright © 2014 Hannah Michell. All rights reserved.