UK Reviews

From Country & Town House Magazine, November 2018

"Mawer captures superbly the fear and suspicion that dominated life in the former Communist Bloc countries while his description of the battles between the heavily armed Russian troops and the young Czech protestors is shockingly atmospheric."

Richard Hopton

From the Times, 11/8/2018

"Mawer is a superb chronicler of past events in foreign countries, and Prague Spring is a wonderfully atmospheric portrait of the city, as well as a political and historical thriller with dashes of espionage. It is as brilliant as anything he has written, which is saying a great deal."

Marcel Berlins

From Daily Mail, 3/8/2018

"MAWER, shortlisted for the Booker with his World War II novel The Glass Room, returns to Czechoslovakia in this tense novel set during the country’s short-lived period of independence from Soviet rule in 1968.

It follows a nervy, cross-class romance between Oxford undergraduates James and Ellie, who release some of the sexual tension they’ve built up while co-starring in a student play when they hitch-hike across Europe for the summer.

Visiting Prague to experience President Alexandr Dubcek’s dream of Communism without tyranny, the story of their testy relationship merges with that of Sam, a young British diplomat sampling local hospitality with student activist Lenka...

James and Ellie’s sparring is always engaging, while Mawer’s prose is crisp, electrified by a sense of menace as the Soviets prepare to invade."

From Sunday Mirror, 29/7/2018

"The tumultuous events of 1968 make a fascinating backdrop to this intelligent drama that follows the fortunes of four people caught up in the Russian invasion. Superbly written, poignant and polished, this story will haunt you."

From The Scotsman, 28/7/2018

"Mawer is an assured and very professional novelist... he is also deeply versed in the history and literature of what was, if only for some 60-odd years, Czechoslovakia, and he writes with an authority that derives from this knowledge.

Half-way throught the novel, I was thinking that it had neither the icy and disturbing elegance of what I have thought to be Mawer's best novel, The Glass House (sic!), nor the compelling plot of Trapeze and its sequel Tightrope and judged that it might be only a rather superior example of the Cold War school of Le Carré... By the end, I realized that it had got beyond that, and not only because the narrative of the takeover of the city by the Russians and their "fraternal" allies is masterly and chilling: in short, I concluded that it is as good as anything Simon Mawer has written; which means it is very good indeed."

Allan Massie

From Readers Digest, 26/7/2018
August Fiction

...a cracking fictional tale set in a beautifully-researched (and very well-chosen) slice of history.

The setting is Prague in 1968 where the Czech experiment to build "socialism with a human face" means people can now speak their mind about life under Communism. But for how long?...

...Needless to say, the reader is always aware that the political and social excitement Mawer captures so well was tragically misplaced. Yet, knowing more than the characters do only serves to crank up the tension - and to make their optimism all the more heart-rending - as the climactic invasion approaches.

James Walton








Simon Mawer 2008 - 2018. This website is written and maintained by the author.