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A Special Relationship
 
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A Special Relationship [Format Kindle]

Douglas Kennedy
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (8 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

One

ABOUT AN HOUR after I met Tony Hobbs, he saved my life.

I know that sounds just a little melodramatic, but it’s the truth. Or, at least, as true as anything a journalist will tell you.

I was in Somalia – a country I had never visited until I got a call in Cairo and suddenly found myself dispatched there. It was a Friday afternoon – the Muslim Holy Day. Like most foreign correspondents in the Egyptian capital, I was using the official day of rest to do just that. I was sunning myself beside the pool of the Gezira Club – the former haunt of British officers during the reign of King Farouk, but now the domain of the Cairene beau monde and assorted foreigners who’d been posted to the Egyptian capital. Even though the sun is a constant commodity in Egypt, it is something that most correspondents based there rarely get to see. Especially if, like me, they are bargain basement one-person operations, covering the entire Middle East and all of eastern Africa. Which is why I got that call on that Friday afternoon.

‘Is this Sally Goodchild?’ asked an American voice I hadn’t heard before.

‘That’s right,’ I said, sitting upright and holding the cell phone tightly to my ear in an attempt to block out a quartet of babbling Egyptian matrons sitting beside me. ‘Who’s this?’

‘Dick Leonard from the paper.’

I stood up, grabbing a pad and a pen from my bag. Then I walked to a quiet corner of the veranda. ‘The paper’ was my employer. Also known as the Boston Post. And if they were calling me on my cell phone, something was definitely up.

‘I’m new on the Foreign Desk,’ Leonard said, ‘and deputizing today for Charlie Geiken. I’m sure you’ve heard about the flood in Somalia?’

Rule one of journalism: never admit you’ve been even five minutes out of contact with the world at large. So all I said was, ‘How many dead?’

‘No definitive body count so far, according to CNN. And from all reports, it’s making the ’97 deluge look like a drizzle.’

‘Where exactly in Somalia?’

‘The Juba River Valley. At least four villages have been submerged. The editor wants somebody there. Can you leave straight away?’

So that’s how I found myself on a flight to Mogadishu, just four hours after receiving the call from Boston. Getting there meant dealing with the eccentricities of Ethiopian Airlines, and changing planes in Addis Ababa, before landing in Mogadishu just after midnight. I stepped out into the humid African night, and tried to find a cab into town. Eventually, a taxi showed up, but the driver drove like a kamikaze pilot, and also took a back road into the city centre – a road that was unpaved and also largely deserted. When I asked him why he had chosen to take us off the beaten track, he just laughed. So I pulled out my cell phone and dialled some numbers, and told the desk clerk at the Central Hotel in Mogadishu that he should call the police immediately and inform them that I was being kidnapped by a taxi driver, car licence number … (and, yes, I did note the cab’s licence plate before getting into it). Immediately the driver turned all apologetic, veering back to the main road, imploring me not to get him into trouble, and saying, ‘Really, it was just a short cut.’

‘In the middle of the night, when there’s no traffic? You really expect me to believe that?’

‘Will the police be waiting for me at the hotel?’

‘If you get me there, I’ll call them off.’

He veered back to the main road, and I made it intact to the Central Hotel in Mogadishu – the cab driver still apologizing as I left his car. After four hours’ sleep, I managed to make contact with the International Red Cross in Somalia, and talked my way on to one of their helicopters that was heading to the flood zone.

It was just after nine in the morning when the chopper took off from a military airfield outside the city. There were no seats inside. I sat with three other Red Cross staffers on its cold steel floor. The helicopter was elderly and deafening. As it left the ground, it lurched dangerously to the starboard side – and we were all thrown against the thick webbed belts, bolted to the cabin walls, into which we had fastened ourselves before take-off. Once the pilot regained control and we evened out, the guy seated on the floor opposite me smiled broadly and said, ‘Well, that was a good start.’

Though it was difficult to hear anything over the din of the rotor blades, I did discern that the fellow had an English accent. Then I looked at him more closely and figured that this was no aid worker. It wasn’t just the sangfroid when it looked like we might just crash. It wasn’t just his blue denim shirt, his blue denim jeans, and his stylish horn-rimmed sunglasses. Nor was it his tanned face – which, coupled with his still-blond hair, leant him a certain weather-beaten appeal if you liked that perpetually insomniac look. No – what really convinced me that he wasn’t Red Cross was the jaded, slightly flirtatious smile he gave me after our near-death experience. At that moment, I knew that he was a journalist.

Just as I saw that he was looking me over, appraising me, and also probably working out that I too wasn’t relief worker material. Of course, I was wondering how I was being perceived. I have one of those Emily Dickinson-style New England faces – angular, a little gaunt, with a permanently fair complexion that resists extended contact with the sun. A man who once wanted to marry me – and turn me into exactly the sort of soccer mom I was determined never to become – told me I was ‘beautiful in an interesting sort of way’. After I stopped laughing, this struck me as something out of the ‘plucky’ school of backhanded compliments. He also told me that he admired the way I looked after myself. At least he didn’t say I was ‘wearing well’. Still, it is true that my ‘interesting’ face hasn’t much in the way of wrinkles or age-lines, and my light brown hair (cut sensibly short) isn’t yet streaked with grey. So though I may be crowding middle age, I can pass myself off as just over the thirty-year-old frontier.

All these banal thoughts were abruptly interrupted when the helicopter suddenly rolled to the left as the pilot went full throttle and we shot off at speed to a higher altitude. Accompanying this abrupt, convulsive ascent – the G-force of which threw us all against our webbed straps – was the distinctive sound of anti-aircraft fire. Immediately, the Brit was digging into his daypack, pulling out a pair of field glasses. Despite the protestations of one of the Red Cross workers, he unbuckled his straps and manoeuvred himself around to peer out one of the porthole windows.

‘Looks like someone’s trying to kill us,’ he shouted over the din of the engine. But his voice was calm, if not redolent of amusement.

‘Who’s “someone”?’ I shouted back.

‘Usual militia bastards,’ he said, his eyes still fastened to the field glasses. ‘The same charmers who caused such havoc during the last flood.’

‘But why are they shooting at a Red Cross chopper?’ I asked.

‘Because they can,’ he said. ‘They shoot at anything foreign and moving. It’s sport to them.’

He turned to the trio of Red Cross medicos strapped in next to me.

‘I presume your chap in the cockpit knows what he’s doing,’ he asked. None of them answered him – because they were all white with shock. That’s when he flashed me a deeply mischievous smile, making me think: the guy’s actually enjoying all this.

I smiled back. That was a point of pride with me – to never show fear under fire. I knew from experience that, in such situations, all you could do was take a very deep breath, remain focused, and hope you got through it. And so I picked a spot on the floor of the cabin and stared at it, all the while silently telling myself: It will be fine. It will be just …

And then the chopper did another roll and the Brit was tossed away from the window, but managed to latch on to his nearby straps and avoid being hurled across the cabin.

‘You okay?’ I asked.

Another of his smiles. ‘I am now,’ he said.

A further three stomach-churning rolls to the right, followed by one more rapid acceleration, and we seemed to leave the danger zone. Ten nervous minutes followed, then we banked low. I craned my neck, looked out the window and sucked in my breath. There before me was a submerged landscape – Noah’s Flood. The water had consumed everything. Houses and livestock floated by. Then I spied the first dead body – face down in the water, followed by four more bodies, two of which were so small that, even from the air, I was certain they were children.

Everyone in the chopper was now peering out the window, taking in the extent of the calamity. The chopper banked again, pulling away from the nucleus and coming in fast over higher ground. Up in the distance, I could see a cluster of jeeps and military vehicles. Closer inspection showed that we were trying to land amidst the chaos of a Somalian Army encampment, with several dozen soldiers milling around the clapped-out military equipment spread across the field. In the near-distance, we could see three white jeeps flying the Red Cross flag. There were around fourteen aid workers standing by the jeeps, frantically waving to us. There was a problem, however. A cluster of Somalian soldiers was positioned within a hundred yards of the Red Cross team – and they were simultaneously making beckoning gestures towards us with their arms.

‘This should be amusing,’ the Brit said.

‘Not if it’s like last time,’ one of the Red Cross team said.

‘What happened last time?’ I asked.

‘They tried to loot us,’ he said.

‘That happened a lot back in ’97 too,’ the Brit said.

‘You were here in ’97?’ I asked him.

‘Oh yes,’ ...

Revue de presse

"As it gathered pace... I found my heart beating faster. I cannot remember a more compulsive book... I am bowled over by the art of the novelist" (Daily Telegraph)

"Kennedy knows how to keep the pages turning...A pacy, absorbing and intelligent story" (Elizabeth Buchan, The Times)

"Excellent ... The pace is thriller-like, so cancel all engagements for the duration" (Good Housekeeping)

"Writing in the first person as a woman, [Kennedy] pulls off a bold imaginative transformation that I find enthralling and persuasive" (Jonathan Raban)

"His impressive achievement is... his narrator Sally, whose turbulent emotions he conveys with an unusual depth of understanding" (Times Literary Supplement)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 762 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 437 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1439199132
  • Editeur : Cornerstone Digital; Édition : New Ed (4 septembre 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0031RS204
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (8 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°33.469 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Douglas Kennedy est né à Manhattan, le 1er janvier 1955. Il grandit dans l'Upper West Side, étudie à New York puis dans l'état du Maine, avant de partir un an au Trinity College de Dublin, en 1974. De retour à New York, il passe plusieurs mois à travailler, sans succès, comme régisseur dans des théâtres de Broadway. En 1977, il part à Dublin pour rendre visite à des amis, puis décide de s'y installer pour de bon.
Cofondateur d'une troupe de théâtre puis administrateur du National Theatre of Ireland, il vend sa première pièce à la chaîne de radio britannique BBC Radio 4, en 1980.
En 1983, il démissionne pour se consacrer à l'écriture, sa vie se partage alors entre journalisme free-lance et création de pièces de théâtre. En 1989, il déménage à Londres, au moment où son premier livre, un récit de voyage, est publié. Son premier roman, Cul-de-sac (réédité par Belfond en 2008 sous le titre Piège nuptial) marque le début d'une longue liste de succès, tant auprès de la critique que du public : L'homme qui voulait vivre sa vie (Belfond, 1998, rééd. 2010 ; Pocket, 1999), Les Désarrois de Ned Allen (Belfond, 1999 ; Pocket, 2000), La Poursuite du bonheur (Belfond, 2001 ; Pocket, 2003), Rien ne va plus (Belfond, 2002 ; Pocket, 2004), Une relation dangereuse (Belfond, 2003 ; Pocket, 2005), Au pays de Dieu (Belfond, 2004 ; Pocket, 2006), Les Charmes discrets de la vie conjugale (Belfond, 2005 ; Pocket, 2007), La Femme du Ve (Belfond, 2007 ; Pocket, 2009), Quitter le monde (Belfond, 2009 ; Pocket, 2010) et Au-delà des pyramides (Belfond, 2010 ; Pocket, 2011). Son prochain roman, Cet instant-là, paraîtra aux éditions Belfond en octobre 2011.
Douglas Kennedy est aujourd'hui l'un des auteurs favoris des Français, avec plus de deux millions d'exemplaires vendus pour l'ensemble de ses titres, dont plusieurs sont en cours d'adaptation cinématographique. Divorcé, père de deux enfants, il vit entre le Maine, Londres, Paris et Berlin.

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Commentaires en ligne 

4.0 étoiles sur 5
4.0 étoiles sur 5
Commentaires client les plus utiles
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Surprenante Découverte 6 août 2004
Par D. Claire
Format:Relié
Croyant acheter un bouquin genre thriller comedy, je me suis retrouvee plongee dans une histoire tellement prenante que j'ai eu beaucoup de mal a quitter le livre...
Prenante au sens litteral, l'histoire est captivante, on a vraiment envie de savoir ce qu'il va advenir des personnages ; mais prenante aussi au niveau psychologique : les reflexions féminines de l'héroine, sa douloureuse descente mentale sont extraordinaires de vérité.
De la part d'un auteur masculin, c'est d'autant plus un bel exercice de style.
En bref, voila un roman sincerement émouvant... A lire, mais pas en periode de depression ;-)
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11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Haletant... 14 août 2004
Format:Broché
Aucun Douglas Kennedy ne m'a jamais déçue, avec ses personnages normaux, voire privilégiés, toujours attachants par leur dualité. Ensuite vient leur descente progressive ou fulgurante dans les abysses, l'enfer absolu que même le pire des cauchemars ne pourrait façonner.
Dans "A Special Relationship", Sally Goodchild, journaliste américaine plongée au coeur de Londres après une aventure suivie rapidement d'une grossesse et d'un mariage, n'échappe pas au scénario-type de D.K.
Malgré cela, l'dentification au personnage est toujours parfaite, on a envie de hurler à l'injustice, d'arrêter le processus infernal, et c'est toujours une course-lecture effrénée vers les 3 dernières pages...
Vivement le prochain...!
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 L'Amérique contre l'Angleterre 20 août 2013
Par baybiel
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Pour ceux qui ont connu ou non les frustrations d'avoir à vivre en Europe (ou en Angleterre) alors qu'ils sont nord américains ce livre est une merveille de perception des problèmes rencontrés quotidiennement.
La beauté de lire Kennedy réside dans son style unique de changer de langage et style pour chacun de ses livres.
A lire en anglais si possible. Le style et le traitement de la langue rendent la lecture facile même pour un niveau moyen de l'usage de la langue.
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2.0 étoiles sur 5 déçu 16 mai 2012
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Un peu déçu par le récit puisque 2 récits dans un livre, ce que je n'aime pas. Pourtant j'aime bien par ailleurs le style direct de Douglas Kennedy.
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the great difference between Yanks and Brits was that Americans believed that life was serious but not hopeless . . . whereas the English believed that life was hopeless, but not serious. &quote;
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its all a bit like what Rossini said about Wagners operas: there are some splendid quarter-of-an-hours. &quote;
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&quote;
I wanted to embrace that old hoary American fighting spirit. No wonder the English were so privately attracted to the pastoral. It was an antidote to all that hard-headed realism  the recognition that the Elysian Fields were merely the stuff of folklore, undermined by the merciless reality of class, personal limitations, and the crushing purposelessness of life which you must still somehow confront to give order and shape to the day. &quote;
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