Author(s): Stewart O'Nan
In 1945, with no homes to return to, Jewish refugees set out for Palestine in their tens of thousands...City of Secrets follows one survivor, Brand, as he tries to regain himself after losing everyone he's ever loved. Now driving a taxi provided - like his new identity - by the underground, he navigates the twisting streets of Jerusalem as well as the overlapping, sometimes deadly loyalties of the resistance. Alone, haunted by memories, he tries to become again the man he was before the war - honest, strong, capable of moral choice...He falls in love with Eva, a fellow survivor and member of his cell, reclaims his faith, and commits himself to the revolution, accepting secret missions that grow more and more dangerous even as he begins to suspect he's being used by their cell's dashing leader, Asher. By the time Brand understands the truth, it's too late, and the tragedy that ensues changes history...A noirish, deeply felt novel of intrigue and identity written in O'Nan's trademark lucent style, City of Secrets asks how both despair and faith can lead us astray, and what happens when, with the noblest intentions, we join movements beyond our control.
City of Secrets is, by inclination and design, quiet and finite, but its impact is deceptively large because O'Nan has something that can't be taught to a writer - and can indeed be unlearned by talented writers: the gift of authenticity. You'll rarely catch O'Nan being an author. You'll simply feel his story rolling past you, in the manner of an old Peugeot. Washington Post Enthralling... a clear-eyed and unsentimental look at an astonishing slice of history. Seattle Times I've been a Stewart O'Nan fan since his very first novel, and never more so than with his latest. In City of Secrets, O'Nan takes his mastery of language and depth of character in a fresh direction: a richly nuanced suspense novel, set in an immensely intriguing post-war Jerusalem. A remarkable book. -- Chris Pavone Stewart O'Nan's City of Secrets will keep you up all night reading - what a beautifully crafted novel. -- Alan Furst Finely wrought and morally complex, O'Nan's considerable story-telling powers are masterfully deployed here. With deft strokes, he evokes the tensions and tragedies of Mandate Jerusalem, riven then as now by the fault lines of community and conscience. -- Geraldine Brooks
Stewart O'Nan is the author of fifteen previous novels, including West of Sunset; The Odds; Emily, Alone; A Prayer for the Dying; and Snow Angels, as well as several works of non-fiction, including, with Stephen King, the bestselling Faithful. His novel Last Night at the Lobster was a US bestseller and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh where he lives with his family.