Unexploded Author:Alison MacLeod In this intimate period drama, MacLeod subjects the uncertain moorings of family to an ill-defined wartime peril. In 1940's Brighton, a German invasion is expected any day; "Fear was an infection — airborne, seaborne — rolling in off the Channel...." Geoffrey Beaumont has been named Superintendent of an enemy alie... more »n camp, son Philip imagines life under Hitler's rule, and his wife Evelyn struggles to adapt as the world she knows succumbs to fear. Into this fragility MacLeod introduces Otto, a German-Jewish painter who makes Evelyn's acquaintance as she visits prisoners to read to them. There are fine flourishes of style and empathy within this Man Booker long-listed novel; the author beautifully captures the weariness of paranoia, the way the fear eventually yields "to the pleasure of May blossom and the horse chestnuts…fear was forgotten over a book or a weak cup of tea." MacLeod is an astonishing crafter of nuance, writing of the manner in which people "are broken…by everything [they] cannot say," perfectly capturing the paradox of people consumed by petty anti-Semitic tendencies yet worried of Hitler's coming. The plot does suffer a slight predictability, the Beaumonts weathering various betrayals and infidelities as time crawls by and the invasion fails to occur. Yet this is ultimately a fine work, laden with moments of subtle grace.