x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Book review: Another Kind of Country a warm love story in a Cold War setting

Kevin Brophy's novel uses the end of Pinochet's dictatorship, the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall as the backdrop for a quiet love story

War is hell, but love makes it bearable.

That seems to be the message in Another Kind of Country, Kevin Brophy's novel about the Cold War and the blossoming relationship between Rosa, the beautiful daughter of a high-ranking socialist minister in Augusto Pinochet's government, and Patrick, a left-leaning English ex-journalist who has renounced his British citizenship and defected to East Germany. As Chile's dictatorship falls, the minister's teenaged daughter is whisked away to Berlin, but not before her father is killed in a coup and her mother shot dead as she attempts to flee.

While the deepening romance between Rosa and Patrick is at times treacly and slow-moving, a separate political struggle by East German politicians and high-ranking military officers to reshape their country as the Soviet Union begins to break up is an interesting fictional take on the real-life historical backdrop. A good read for devotees of the Cold War era, but don't expect a blockbuster or tear-jerker ending.

* Mark Angeles