NOW YOU KNOW by Michael Frayn


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 What happens when an improbable love affair brings a freedom-of- information lobby under the microscope itself: another melancholy farce by the gifted British playwright (Noises Off, Benefactors) and novelist (The Trick of It, 1990; A Landing on the Sun, 1992). The London office of OPEN, once you step over the two bag-ladies to get inside, is rife with its own petty secrets: why the files on Jacqui's desk have been scattered all over the floor; what kind of photos are in those magazines Kevin's hiding in Kent's satchel; what everybody thinks of Shireen's IQ; and who knows just what about whose private life. But the OPEN staff succeeds in keeping their secrets from each other, more or less, until Roy's budding romance with Hilary Wood, a civil servant of the sort OPEN normally feasts on, brings her to the attention of Terry Little, the grand old man of OPEN. Finding Hilary ``like a helping of rather brainy mashed potatoes,'' Terry naturally brings her back to the office for a quick tumble, only to find within a few days that: (1) she's sent him an unsought grail--a copy of the hush-hush records on the death of a Pakistani troublemaker in police custody, (2) she's resigned her post at Whitehall over the leak, and (3) she'll be coming to work for OPEN, where, in the course of one mad morning when she realizes that shamelessly charming Terry's been seeing both her and Jacqui on a rigorously non-overlapping schedule, (4) she'll be flinging wide the shutters of OPEN to the world, or at least to its manic exposers themselves. As intricately worked out as a Joe Orton play, though the amusingly scheming cast remains obstinately lovable. Frayn seems bent on a single-handed crusade to restore plotting to a central place in the British novel.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84554-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992


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