Review of An Honest Man

An Honest Man

Ben Fergusson’s An Honest Man is a thick, deeply enveloping treat of a read. Full of twists and deeply engaging, this coming of age tale set in 1988-89 West Berlin follows a group of teens facing the challenges of their own familial existence during an equally tumultuous time in German history. The author captures the spirit of the characters and the brilliantly rich environment and wraps it around a tense and skillfully woven narrative. The atmosphere is ripe and you can feel the emotions of the time and the players through the author’s vibrant description.

The teens are surviving a last summer before heading off to University and coming to grips with the coming changes in their own lives, all the time being vaguely aware that their own country and the special circumstance of Berlin are vibrating with its own impending changes which will dramatically affect the lives of its residents.

The characters are evocatively constructed and the feelings and the angst and sense of ennui seep wonderfully from the pages and cast a deep spell. It is difficult to say too much of the plot as it is well-paced and constructed with timed reveals that keep you gripped and provoked. Fergusson keeps the twists coming and carries you right through a satisfying conclusion, although I freely admit to being disappointed that the story had to end.

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