The Defections by Hannah Michell

The Defections

Hannah Michell

This has everything that you would expect from John Le Carre - cross-border skulduggery, people exploiting each other, betrayal and revenge. The lead characters do all this to each other, and find out things that they never knew about each other. The unusual setting for an east-west conflict makes it even more compelling. If you expect it to end badly, you will not be wrong, but maybe not as badly as you think.

Extract

She let out a quiet breath, relieved their attention had been diverted. Mrs Kong was the favourite point of gossip among the ladies who helped with the lunches. Mrs Kong had spent many years living in California and it had been rumouored that she had returned to Seoul after the collapse of her business, a shop selling ejans. She had been married at least three times to men half her age. She had insisted on organising the rice donations from the congregation for the poor but had never once dirtied her hands with the daily cleaning chores around the church

Parallels
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre
  • The Limits of the World by Andrew Raymond Drennan
  • How I became a North Korean by Krys Lee
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Violence
Explicit sexual content