Spies Background

Spies Background

Spies is a psychological novel written by novelist and playwright Micheal Frayn. It was published in 2002 and received the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, the 2002 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book in 2003.

In terms of genre, Spies is detective narrative that revolves around nostalgia, with key themes like identity, fear, social class, male power and authority and time. It follows an old man's recollection of his childhood post 1945, referring to his younger self in third person. When childhood friend Keith Hayward reveals to younger Stephen that his mother has infiltrated his family by being a German spy, both boys' imaginations override and open to misinterpretations.

Older Stephen's declining memory results in his search for clarification and closure, as Frayn uses a blend of different narrative viewpoints to distinguish what young Stephen thought was accurate at the time and reality.

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