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The Moment

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,790 ratings  ·  527 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Leaving the World comes a tragic love story set in Cold War Berlin. Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced writer in the midst of a rueful middle age. Living a very private life in Maine, in touch only with his daughter and still trying to recover from the end of a long marriage, his solitude is disrupted one wintry morning by the arriva ...more
Hardcover, 535 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Atria Books
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Luke Spyropoulos THe CIA wanted info n her interrogator & felt they could screw over the Stasi by feeding her dummy info
THe CIA wanted info n her interrogator & felt they could screw over the Stasi by feeding her dummy info

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 ·  3,790 ratings  ·  527 reviews

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B the BookAddict
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Recommended Reading
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: GR
Writer, Thomas Nesbitt, is middle aged, recently divorced and living a quiet and private life in Maine. The return sender’s name on a package he receives draws him into reviewing a manuscript he wrote about his life, some twenty five years earlier, when, as a young travel writer, he travelled to and lived in West Germany. The time spent there and his relationship with a woman, who had been until recently a citizen of GDR, changes his life in untold ways. The manuscript reminds him of the one int ...more
Andrew Smith
Sep 02, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is about 200 pages too long. There are sections where the point is laboured beyond belief and I found the instant attraction of the two main characters, which turned to full on love in about five minutes flat, hard to believe - and hard to stomach at times.

So did I hate it? Well no, not really. The story itself was interesting enough to keep me turning another page and above all some of the writer’s observations about life in general seemed, to me, spot on. I’m not sure I’d rush out a
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
The Moment by Douglas Kennedy was such a suprise in a good way in that it was much better than i could of ever expected. While i was drawn to the book by the setting of Cold War Berlin something i have been facinated by for many years what totally suprised me was how good the overall story was. At no point did i feel that the romantic parts were overdone or cliched. The story itself was truelly gripping and engaging. At times sad, at times hilarious but at no time boring something emphasised by ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
6/12/15 ... reading again to learn from Kennedy's ability to capture emotions in words.


This book affected me emotionally in a way that few books do. Kennedy's ability to convey what his characters are feeling is extraordinary. Love found and lost is a common theme, but this story, set mostly in Berlin divided by the Wall, stands out.

However, the book is far from perfect. After reading 100+ pages, I was still searching for a plot, hoping there was one. After another 100+ pages, a plot had beg
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: x-read-in-2011
As the book opens in modern day the reader is introduced to a man, Thomas, about to get a divorce. The book soon goes into flashback and the story of Thomas's great love is revealed. Set in Berlin just prior to the fall of the Berlin wall the book is full of the dark, distrustful atmosphere you would expect. The woman that 25 yr old Thomas meets is Petra and her story, when it is finally revealed, is peppered with the horrors of living through incarceration and interrogation before finally being ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
The Moment by Douglas Kennedy is primarily a Love story with a little historical content thrown in.

This is the story of Thomas Nesbitt who is a divorced American writer living in Maine. He lives a quiet life until one day a package arrives from Berlin and his past is brought back to haunt him.
The package is from Petra Dussmann a woman he had an intense love affair with over twenty five years ago in a divided Berlin under the shadows of the Cold War.
Petra Dussman was a refugee from the police sta
Ilyhana Kennedy
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This is what I would call a "yes" and "no" book. To steal the author's theme, I'd say that it has great 'moments'...but then goes wandering off somewhere.
The pace of the novel tends to dominate the reading experience. I found it so slow at first that I almost put it back on the shelf.
It gradually gathered pace until it was rolling along very nicely and I was immersed in the intrigue. The plot was sometimes predictable, sometimes surprising.
And then it crashed. The reading of Petra's journals wa
Cold War Conversations Podcast

A totally gripping novel of love, loss and cold war politics set in Berlin in the 1980's.

It's difficult to review this book without giving too much away, but despite a slow start the author starts to ratchet up the tension leaving you unable to put it down.

It's unusual to find a book that I would recommend as an insight into cold war politics as well as a great intense love story.

Douglas Kennedy accurately reflects the cold war politics and atmosphere of Berlin in 1980s' as well as providing the
Nadin Adel
It is a story about the wall of Berlin.

It is a story about love.

It is a story about betrayal.

It is a story about fictional characters.

It is a story about nonfictional characters.

It is a story about history.

It is a story about the Cold War.

It is a story about the moment ...

to be continued

Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
I just finished this book and find myself stomping around in utter annoyance. This book took me forever to get through. I found the beginning very lethargic and difficult to plow through. It took off past the midway point. I ran the gamit from boredom, to interested, to enthralled, to frustrated by some cheesiness that eventually seemed warranted so I accepted it, then back to enthralled, then bored, and then annoyed. I didn't care for the wordiness and over philosiphication that went on (yeah p ...more
Tea Leaves and Reads
Everybody has a 'moment.' Can many people string it out into a whole book? Probably not. But Douglas Kennedy does just that...

This book made me do three things that I've never done before as the direct impact of reading a novel.
1) Cry
2) Become emotionally involved
3) Enjoy reading long pages of one narrative

Douglas Kennedy, where have you been all my reading life? This novel was absolutely breath-taking from start to finish. At first I detested Kennedy's attention to detail, the way he delved i
Amanda Patterson
Jul 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What an ordinary book written by an extraordinarily average writer. Perhaps that’s why readers like his writing? He makes his story seem better than it really is by using a few props. He gives his character an unusual job, throws in a few foreign phrases, and crafts seemingly ‘clever’ backstories. Until you realise they are all vignettes without substance.
Or maybe I’m just a dull reader who doesn’t get it at all.
This book was a trial at 488 pages. When you start out with a protagonist who is ess
somewhere between 2 and 3 stars, actually....I wanted to like this so much more than I did. The overall story was good - I loved the setting of the Cold War in Berlin - but it could have been about 200 pages shorter. It was very wordy and at times I found myself skimming. Also, I never connected to the characters - I had a hard time liking them. Every once in a while I found a line of text that really stuck with me (I even teared up a bit at the end), but overall, I was just anxious for the stor ...more
This is one of my favorite books EVER! I've never read anything by Douglas Kennedy and I think I'll have to read more.

This is the story of Thomas Nesbitt, a travel writer, who just received divorce papers from his wife. After avoiding a freak-accident, Nesbitt returns home and finds a box from a long-lost love. The story begins as he remembers his time in Berlin with Petra. The story ponders the idea of being in the moment and how our decisions really do have long term effects. I loved the char
Carla Ford
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The further into this book I got, the stronger my feeling was that it was going to be one of those books that I would never forget. And it has stayed with me ever since I finished it. What an amazing title, first of all. Especially in these times, we know what it means to live in "the moment", even if we are not often able to do exactly that. But, what if you could look back and pinpoint the exact moment that your life changed its course - forever? That is exactly what Thomas Nesbitt is able to ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have read a hundred books in my life, but there's only a few that I will never forget. This book is one of the few.

The Moment tells the story of Thomas Nesbitt (the travel writer) and Petra (the translator) who met and fall in love at the time when Berlin was divided in two. Thomas, an American, decided to write about Berlin in his second travel book. He met Petra, an aloof german translator who was recently exiled from East Berlin. While Petra tries very hard to avoid Thomas, because of the o
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our lives are made up of a series of moments. For some, one incident can make or break you. Will you come to regret a decision you only had a moment to make? Or will it be the best decision you ever made?

"Though you might think, at the time, that this "something" is rooted in an obvious need (sex, romance, or other variations on an amorous theme), the truth is: you won't understand what the true meaning of the moment was until long after it has been stored in that cluttered room we litter with m
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it
"The Moment" is about a man who never got over his first love, and continues to live his life in somewhat of a numb and dissociative state. His affection for his daughter is genuine and touching, but his interactions with all women except the one who got away are rather cold or perversely clingy.
My favorite part is of course the segue in Germany and his relationship with Petra. His interactions with Alaistair has to be some of the best dialogue I've ever read.
I can't help but feel however, that
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Had to buy a book at Adelaide airport. It could have been worse. Set in Berlin while the wall is still in place - I found it a bit over-written. Like another book I read recently, it revolves around falling in love in an instant. I have fallen in love in the space of a night so I find this credible though have to remind myself because it was a long time ago. It deals with the difficult choices made by two characters as a result of the politics of the time (about 1984). I found the plot predictab ...more
How do you know those moments that will change your life forever? How do you recognize them for what they are? If you do recognize them, how do you proceed, knowing that no matter what you do, your life will never be the same? Douglas Kennedy’s The Moment is a beautifully written exploration of just that, as Thomas Nesbitt reminisces on his life-changing moment many years ago in divided Berlin, his regret over not recognizing it for what it was, and the impact of it on the rest of his life. Fill ...more
Luke Spyropoulos

'' We're all so preposterous, aren't we. Holding onto our traumas, our agonies, our small dramas and using them to sabotage that which we so want, and actually deserve. '' (Petra in 'The Moment')

At its very best literature will not merely entertain; but will cause you to reflect on your own life. Douglas Kennedy's West Berlin novel 'The Moment' is one such book. As he puts it 'I want to keep you up till 3am, ...but I also want to make you think.'

26 year old T
Jessica at Book Sake
Book Review
The Moment is a novel written primarily about Berlin in 1984, when the Wall was still in place, dividing East from West Germany. Mr. Kennedy writes a story of a travel writer who goes to Berlin to write the follow up to his debut novel. Perhaps because the story is about a writer, I found it took a very long time to get to the main plot of the story, with a lot of unimportant details. There was much written about the main character's life before his trip to Berlin, which was really un
Katrina Spencer
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Cold War. Berlin. Two subjects that are normally not my cup of tea, but I found this novel completely engrossing. Douglas Kennedy is a master of storytelling-he is able to breathe life into his characters-so much so that you feel that they are sitting right next to you on your sofa.

The novel begins in the present, with Thomas Nesbitt's failed marriage and divorce. The marriage never stood a chance, Thomas realizes because he never fully gave his heart to his wife. Despondent, he receives a myste
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Kennedy does it again. Till a little beyond halfway mark I was wondering why he is spinning a Mills&Boonish love tale, and then Wham! everything gets into a narrative upheaval. His description of emotions and sentiments of love, shock, trust, and distrust all very lucidly portrayed.

one has read too many horror tales of Nazis and their atrocities. But to read that this horrific dealing of fellow humans continued even after liberation behind The Wall was disturbing to read.

Office chores kept m
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I gave this book four stars as I found it just so interesting. Set in the Cold War period, a young American journalist moves to West Berlin to write a travel memoir about his experiences in both West and East Berlin. He moves into the seedy district of Kreuzberg, minutes from the Wall, and populated by interesting and absorbing characters whom he observes and documents. Eventually he lands a job in a radio station broadcasting into East Berlin, where of course, he meets the love of his life!

Marianne Meyers
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
I couldn't finish "The Moment", so rating it is entirely unfair of me. I made it to page 150 and then I couldn't take it anymore. A middle-aged rueful male narrator, that sums it up. I kept thinking I'd get into this book and with 400 more pages to go, I couldn't do it. I just didn't care for the narrator, he irritated me. ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastisch, except too ponderous. The narrator should have "brooding" stamped on his forehead. I doubt he ever would have been happy. And having to read the same story twice (sort of) added even more length. As the Austrian Emperor said, "Too many notes."

That said, if you're looking for a romantically sad story realistically set in Berlin in waining decades of the Wall, this is for you.
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
How do you come to read an author you've never heard of? I was at a book fair in France which had invited an American novelist, Douglas Kennedy, in addition to dozens of French authors. He was presumably invited because all of his dozen novels have been translated from English into French, so obviously he's popular in France. I spoke to him briefly and asked which of his novels he'd recommend to read first , and he suggested THE MOMENT.

It's a long novel (500 plus pages), one I would like to say
In THE MOMENT by Douglas Kennedy, a divorced man, a writer living alone in a cottage, receives a package in the mail. He doesn’t immediately open it but does recognize the name of the sender. It’s from Petra, someone he knew many years ago, back in the 1980s when he was 25 and living in Germany.

He kept a notebook during that time. And now he takes it out to read BEFORE he opens the package. (That was just the first unbelievable incident in this book.)

So now we go back to the 1980s. After being s
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Berlin, the Cold War and love. Present day Maine,a redone house, and divorce. These are the backdrops for this novel about love and choices by Douglas Kennedy. Thomas Nesbitt writes travel books and while doing so, isolates himself from his family. Divorce papers arrive on his doorstep intensifying his already tense mid-life crisis. Then, just as he is settling in to his new life, a box arrives with the name "Dussman" on it. The name brings with it memories of a very special love affair from the ...more
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Douglas Kennedy was born in Manhattan in 1955. He studied at Bowdoin College, Maine and Trinity College, Dublin, returning to Dublin in 1977 with just a trenchcoat, backpack and $300. He co-founded a theatre company and sold his first play, Shakespeare on Five Dollars a Day, to Radio 4 in 1980. In 1988 he moved to London and published a travel book, Beyond the Pyramids. His debut novel The Dead He ...more

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“We can never change the story that made us what we are. It's a story accumulated by the manifold complexities-its capacity for astonishment and horror, for sanguinity and hopelessness, for pellucid light and the most profound darkness. We are what happened to us. And we carry everywhere all that has shaped us-all that we lacked, all that we wanted but never got; all that we got but never wanted; all that was found and lost.” 18 likes
“Wie bald 'nicht jetz' 'nie' wird. How soon 'not now' becomes 'never'.” 14 likes
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