‘Eva Delectorskaya,’ I said, mystified. ‘Who’s that?’
‘Me’, Sally said. ‘I am Eva Delectorskaya.’
Pretend that you’re just living your normal life, everything is as it always was, but then your mother tells you a very, very strange history you could never think of. A story that you only read in books. Your mom tells you that she was a spy and now she needs your help.
That’s exactly what William Boyd describes in Restless. Ruth is a normal woman, unmarried, living with her son in the city of Oxford. One day her mother, Sally, is acting really weird and later on that day she gives Ruth a manuscript, the beginning of “The story of Eva Delectorskaya”, who appears to be Sally herself when she was young.
When Eva’s brother died she was asked to work for the British Secret Services. She took the job, took a training and after that she could call herself a spy. From that moment on her job was to manipulate the press at some point that The United States would turn against the Nazi’s.
Boyd describes two stories, the one of Eva Delectorskaya in the past and the one of Ruth who is reading this story. The way he does this sounds really simple: first a chapter about Ruth and than a chapter about Eva, and so on. In fact it’s not that simple because both stories contain a lot of characters and that makes it in my opinion sometimes really confusing because the stories have al lot in common. During the book you can really see how Ruth changes about the way she thinks. First she thought that her mother was just a crazy old grandma but later on she almost thinks like her, like a spy. This development is really nice described because you can’t really say at which point Ruth changes her mind. Meanwhile, as a reader you get the impression she is making a mind shift.
The book is a real thriller about the World War II which I did not expect in advance. Boyd describes really detailed different countries during the war, as well as historical persons and special happenings. He had to do this, because otherwise the story would be incomplete. I have to admit I don’t know that much about the war so it was really hard to understand this part of the book. Anyway it was really exciting.
The life of a spy sounds really nice and anything but boring: nice gadgets, hotel life, airplanes and fancy clothes.
Yet, after reading this book I know for sure I never want to become a spy. One thing I can clearly remember from the book is how Sally lives right now. She lives with the fear that someday someone will come to kill her. That’s why she never finds rest: she is restless. Another thing that holds me against becoming a spy is that you can never trust someone, even if it’s your best friend or colleague.
Romer rule number one “never trust someone, it may be the only rule you need”.
The novel makes you think about your best friends, your family and your enemies. Are they really who they seem to be? Or are they just acting? Are they really my friends? Do I know everything about them? Ruth thought her mother was just a normal English grandma but she turned out to be a spy…