Cover image for Accomplices
Frederick, K. C., 1935-
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Publication Information:
Sag Harbor, N.Y. : Permanent Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
246 pages ; 23 cm
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Set in a central European country about five years after the fall of communism. K. C. Frederick's third novel moves with a fevered urgency reminiscent of Graham Greene, as it concerns itself with wounded people in flight from themselves and from others. As the nation confronts unprecedented changes, the protagonist, Stivan, must put his own life together. A man who's become accustomed to thinking of himself as a failure and a victim, he's driven by a crippling loneliness to seek a relationship with his former nurse. In re-opening this connection, though, Stivan gets a good deal more than he bargained for. Anya, whom he's considered an icon of solidity, has recently had serious problems of her own and things are further complicated when he agrees to shelter her brother Leni, on the run from his gangster boss in Paris. When Stivan discovers that the priest he's working for is involved in illegal activities, he's faced with further dangerous choices. In a landscape that's constantly shifting, Stivanand Anya are determined to believe in a future even as they come to recognize how inscapably their personal lives are entwined with the uncertainties of a larger world, where enemies are hard to tell from friends and the unlikeliest people may turn out to be accomplices.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Fans of Country of Memory (1998) and The Fourteenth Day (2000), the author's first and second novels, will want to check out this new title. Set in the mid-1990s (about five years after the fall of Communism), it's the story of Stivan and Anya, two residents of a central European country who come together amid the turmoil and panic of a nation whose whole social structure has been upended. Anya, whose brother is being pursued by his gangster boss, asks Stivan to give him shelter. But Stivan has his own problems: he's just learned that his employer, a priest, is engaged in activities that are not, strictly speaking, legal. In a world that has suddenly turned itself upside down, can these two people find some measure of hope and peace? It's a delicate story, full of dreams and revelation--not necessarily for all tastes, thanks to the heavily stylized, vaguely poetic style, but its curious mix of Kafka-like meditation and postmodern thriller proves quite fascinating. --David Pitt Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A middle-aged man finds love amid the wreckage of communism in Frederick's latest, a quietly effective character study set in an unnamed central European country several years after the fall of a corrupt regime. As the novel opens, Stivan, a translator, is alone and depressed after recovering from an auto accident that left him in a coma for many months. He turns to his former nurse, Anya, for companionship, and though Anya is herself battling breast cancer, their awkward first meeting slowly blossoms into an unlikely romance. Then Anya's younger brother-a limo driver named Leni-arrives, fleeing Paris after his boss's girlfriend O.D.s on his watch. Fearing that his boss, a rich thug named Raffi, will have him killed in revenge, Leni hides out with the reluctant Stivan. The translator, meanwhile, faces problems of his own: he takes a part-time job as a church record-keeper only to discover that his employer, the parish priest, is part of a scheme to smuggle illegal immigrants into the fragmented country. Though the narrative slows after Leni's arrival, Frederick deftly balances the politically charged plot with the danger of Leni's situation, as well as the evolving romance between Anya and Stivan. The book succeeds as a thoughtful, romantic study of its protagonists largely because of Frederick's insights into the ways that ordinary people try to live their lives as they navigate the murky politics of a dour, repressed country. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved