Subsequent police interviews trigger Cat's memories of her reluctant friendship with Suzy, an enthusiastic supporter of leftwing organizations. The two women had become acquainted while terrorist bombings, student unrest and neo-Nazi riots brought Germany to a boiling point. Cat had tried to maintain her professional aloofness while writing reports on these events, but the political became personal when Suzy fell for Dennis and forced Cat to confront her hypocrisy in refusing either to marry the much younger man or to let him go.
Ripped from the headlines, Ceremony of Innocence is a very contemporary novel of Europe on the edge of social breakdown. Train stations are bombed and migrants targeted for violence as journalists and other tastemakers watch from their positions of privilege.
Cummings' realistic narrative does not describe the feats of heroes. Rather, it unnervingly lays bare the way religious faith and moral reasoning can be easily manipulated and compromised.