A Novel of the Triumphs and Struggles of Two Journalists
By Annalena McAfee
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95, 304 pages
In London, Tamara Sim, a young reporter struggling to earn enough money to survive, is assigned to write an article about a legendary journalist named Honor Tait, now 80 years old. Tait had covered every war, including World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. She wrote from the trenches at a time when women were largely excluded from such occupations. She had met many of the luminaries of her time and was photographed with the likes of Sinatra, Castro, Franco, and Marilyn Monroe. As Tait pored over her history in preparation for the publication of another book about her life, she reluctantly agreed, at the urging of her publisher, to be interviewed by a reporter. The story, alternately told by each of the woman, reveals their different experience.
The first few chapters seemed a bit of a slog to get through, with a lot of lists that seemed unnecessary. However, once past all that, the characters really came to life and the story became exciting, with suspense and surprises.
The author, Annalena McAfee worked in newspapers for more than thirty years. She was arts and literary editor of the Financial Times and founded and edited the Guardian Review. She has written eight children’s books. She was born in London and lives there with her husband, writer Ian McEwan.
Reviewed By Fran Byram