WHO: Lara Prescott
WHAT: THE SECRETS WE KEPT, a novel
WHEN: Published by Knopf September 3, 2019
WHERE: The author lives in Austin.
WHY: “A triumphant debut.
“Lara Prescott offers a fresh perspective on women employed by the CIA during the 1950s and their role in disseminating into the Soviet Union copies of Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak’s banned masterpiece.
“In 1956, American-born Irina Drozdova gets a job at the CIA ostensibly as a typist but is destined for fieldwork. Former OSS agent Sally Forrester trains Irina in spycraft. Meanwhile, inside the Soviet Union, Boris Pasternak’s lover, Olga Vsevolodovna, is interrogated about Pasternak’s work in progress, Doctor Zhivago. After three years in a prison camp, she reunites with Pasternak, who, unable to publish in the Soviet Union, entrusts his novel to an Italian publisher’s representative.
“Back in Washington, Irina, now engaged to a male agent but in love with Sally, seeks assignment overseas. Dressed as a nun, she places copies of Doctor Zhivago, printed in the original Russian for the CIA, into the hands of Soviet citizens visiting the Vienna World’s Fair.
“Through lucid images and vibrant storytelling, Prescott creates an edgy postfeminist vision of the Cold War, encompassing Sputnik to glasnost, typing pool to gulag, for a smart, lively page-turner. This debut shines as spy story, publication thriller, and historical romance with a twist.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
“Prescott writes with astonishing assurance, enthralling readers
with tales of secret agents, and intrigue, love, and betrayal.”
–Leslie Patterson, in a starred review for LIBRARY JOURNAL
“An intriguing and little-known chapter of literary history is brought to life with brio.”
–KIRKUS, a starred review
349 pages. $26.95 ISBN 978-0-525-65615-9