**Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle**
“Devastating . . . Inspired . . . We make so many complex emotional investments in the lives of Lee’s characters that it takes a monk’s restraint not to flip to the very end of the book before you get there.” —Jennifer Senior, New York Times
In September 1984, a bomb was planted at the Grand Hotel in the seaside town of Brighton, England, set to explode in twenty-four days when the British prime minister and her entire cabinet would be staying there. High Dive not only takes us inside this audacious assassination attempt—a decisive act of violence on the world stage—but also imagines its way into a group of unforgettable characters. Nimbly weaving together fact and fiction, comedy and tragedy, the story switches among the perspectives of Dan, a young IRA explosives expert; Moose, a former star athlete gone to seed, who is now the deputy hotel manager; and Freya, his teenage daughter, trying to decide what comes after high school. Over the course of a mere four weeks, as the prime minister’s arrival draws closer, each of their lives will be transformed forever.
A bold, astonishingly intimate novel of laughter and heartbreak, High Dive is a moving portrait of clashing loyalties, guilt and regret, and how individuals become the grist of history.
You had to remember you were at war." This is what Dan, an IRA volunteer in Belfast, tells himself in March, 1984, not long after his 24th birthday, which was also the day he found out he would be planting a bomb intending to kill Margaret Thatcher and as many members of her cabinet as possible. In September of that same year, an actual slow-release time bomb did explode at the Grand Hotel, in Brighton, England, killing five people but missing the prime minister. That explosion is the real-life event at the heart of this brilliant, urgent, unstoppable novel, Lee's first to be released in the U.S. Having second and even third thoughts about the mission, Dan reckons with himself: "The truth was that on an operation you felt clean of guilt and will. It was day-to-day Belfast life that made you dirty." Interspersed with Dan's mounting internal struggles and resolve are the lives of Freya Finch and her father, who's called Moose, both of whom work at the Grand Hotel and are busy getting ready for the prime minister's arrival. Freya has just graduated from high school and is restless and uncertain. Her father's in a similar position, though it's the middle-aged version, in which he's grappling with the limitations of his health, his appeal to women, and his ability to understand his newly adult daughter. From its breathless first scene, in which the IRA "interviews" Dan at age 18, testing his instincts and intuition, to seeing Freya and Moose navigating the mundane tasks of everyday service work (the reader knowing all the while just how precarious their lives are), this is an incredible novel of rare insight, velocity, depth, and daring.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I was truly excited to sit down and devour this book. Unfortunately, the book is primarily character development and the portion that deals with the bomb planted in Margaret Thatcher's hotel is truly minimal. I am an avid reader in multiple genres, and rarely do I struggle to finish a book, but this one was a chore to finish.