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Book Title: The World at Night|
The size of the: 998 KB
Date of issue: April 1st 2009
The author of the book: Alan Furst
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9780753826379
Read full description of the books The World at Night:Here's what you should listen to while reading this review:
If you scratch at the gold of Furst's evocative books, some of the plating inevitably flakes off... on nearly every page, alas.
And if you knock here and there to sound the depths of his imagination and the depths of insight, one finds tinny, hollow sounds here and there. Perhaps more than 'here and there'.
And so, it is not without cause...that many readers write Furst off as little more than a literary hack.
Yes, perhaps. Who could argue.
And yet..., reading him is much like sitting in the living room of your fancy U.S. apartment, watching Saving Private Ryan, listening to Edith Piaf on your smooth hi-fi, a cognac on the table... while flipping through a large volume of the photos of Brassäi. And it is not unappealing.
There is little plot in Furst's novels, something he talks about, in fact, in this book:
"Yet, a mystery. Hotel Dorado [a script that Jean Casson is producing] was luminous. Not in the plot -- somewhere in deepest Fischfang-land there was no real belief in plot. Life wasn't this, and therefore that, and so, of course, the other. It didn't work that way. Life was this, and then something, and then something else, and then a kick in the ass from nowhere...."
( -- and there, in that last, sad cola, is the flaking, alas... of the gold plating....).
But there is mood in Furst -- and for those who are fascinating by the period -- that mood is wonderfully sustained. And there is also character. Furst's leading characters -- like the Polish officer, and Jean Casson in this novel, are very appealing men...handsome, intelligent, humble, moral, but not simplistically so... attractive to women and to men both... -- and much the same can be said for many of his other characters... they are marvelously well drawn and vivid. And quite individual. Essentially good men and women, most of them.... Trying to survive in a world of moral ambiguities.
Even the Nazis...
"They chatted for a time, nothing all that important, a conversation among men of the world, no fools, long past idealism. Poor Europe, decadent and weak, very nearly gobbled up by the Bolshevik monster. But for them. Not said, but clearly understood..." (231)
The prose is often lovely -- though always with that final undertaste of lead...
In both senses of that word, of that metal... For it is lead that underlies the golden sheen, and lead that defines the moment... Europe at war...
And then, of course, there is that train... from Paris to Barcelona, via Lyons and Port Bou -- resonant Port Bou...! -- which I myself took at the age of 17 -- and that suitcase -- I have an exact replica of it! -- cobbled tan, with green and red stripes.... So this is a book I'd have to love...!
Anyway -- for those who like Furst (as I do, for all his flaws), this is one of his best.
(rating always relative only to genre, of course...)
Read information about the authorAlan Furst is widely recognized as the current master of the historical spy novel. Born in New York, he has lived for long periods in France, especially Paris. He now lives on Long Island.
Night Soldiers novels
* Night Soldiers (1988)
* Dark Star (1991)
* The Polish Officer (1995)
* The World at Night (1996)
* Red Gold (1999)
* Kingdom of Shadows (2000)
* Blood of Victory (2003)
* Dark Voyage (2004)
* The Foreign Correspondent (2006)
* The Spies of Warsaw (2008)
* Spies of the Balkans (2010)
* Mission to Paris (2012)
* Midnight in Europe (2013)
* Your day in the barrel (1976)
* The Paris drop (1980)
* The Caribbean Account (1981)
* Shadow Trade (1983)
For more information, see Wikipedia.
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