Flynn Berry returns to Author Stories today to talk about her new book Northern Spy.
“If you love a mystery, then you’ll devour [Northern Spy] . . . I loved this thrill ride of a book.”—Reese Witherspoon
“A chilling, gorgeously written tale…Berry keeps the tension almost unbearably high.” –The New York Times Book Review
The acclaimed author of Under the Harrow and A Double Life returns with her most riveting novel to date: the story of two sisters who become entangled with the IRA
A producer at the BBC and mother to a new baby, Tessa is at work in Belfast one day when the news of another raid comes on the air. The IRA may have gone underground in the two decades since the Good Friday Agreement, but they never really went away, and lately bomb threats, security checkpoints, and helicopters floating ominously over the city have become features of everyday life. As the news reporter requests the public’s help in locating those responsible for the robbery, security footage reveals Tessa’s sister, Marian, pulling a black ski mask over her face.
The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa is convinced she must have been abducted or coerced; the sisters have always opposed the violence enacted in the name of uniting Ireland. And besides, Marian is vacationing on the north coast. Tessa just spoke to her yesterday.
When the truth about Marian comes to light, Tessa is faced with impossible choices that will test the limits of her ideals, the bonds of her family, her notions of right and wrong, and her identity as a sister and a mother. Walking an increasingly perilous road, she wants nothing more than to protect the one person she loves more fiercely than her sister: her infant son, Finn.
Riveting, atmospheric, and exquisitely written, Northern Spy is at once a heart-pounding story of the contemporary IRA and a moving portrait of sister- and motherhood, and of life in a deeply divided society.
Flynn Berry is the author of Under the Harrow, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel, and A Double Life, which will be published in July 2018. Under the Harrow has been translated into sixteen languages and was optioned for television by Paramount. Flynn is a graduate of Brown University and the Michener Center, and was a Yaddo fellow.