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Attack in the Library (Profusion Crime) Paperback – 15 Nov 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Profusion International Creative Consultancy; 1st Edition edition (15 Nov. 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0956867618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956867612
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 900,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

GEORGE ARION was born in 1946, in Tecuci, Romania. He started his career as a novelist in 1983 with Attack in the Library, hailed as a benchmark in Romanian crime fiction, introducing Andrei Mladin, a detective in spite of himself.

The doyen of Romanian crime fiction writers, Attack in the Library is George Arion's first novel translated into English.

More details on www.profusion.org.uk

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Review

I loved this book. Dry, snappy, absurdist wit... self-deprecating, fast-talking hero... the colossal, surreal stupidity of totalitarianism. --Patrick McGuinness, author - The Last Hundred Days - Man Booker Prize Longlist

...ground-breaking fusion of crime writing with satire and social critique. Arion found the perfect vehicle to confront and express the dark, paranoid days of the Ceausescus' Romania. --John McLeod, Professor of Postcolonial and Diaspora Literatures, Leeds

...a great deal of fun and amusement is to be had in this sometimes surreal account of totalitarianism. --Julian Cole, The Press (York), January 2012

About the Author

GEORGE ARION was born in 1946, in Tecuci, Romania. He started his career as a novelist in 1983 with Attack in the Library, hailed as a benchmark in Romanian crime fiction, introducing Andrei Mladin, a detective in spite of himself. The doyen of Romanian crime fiction writers, Attack in the Library is George Arion's first novel translated into English.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Andrei Mladin, the journalist protagonist of this enchanting novel, discovers the body of "uncle" Valentin in the library in his apartment. Terrified that he will be accused of killing the old man, he manages to carry the body seven floors down into the basement despite his eagle-eyed neighbour, Miss Margareta. He remembers the days before his terrible discovery: he has interviewed a famous violinist, Mihaela Comnoiu, and, much to his surprise, she has become romantically interested in him as a result. Mladin attended a party with Mihaela, but passed out, presumed drunk. He soon discovers that Valentin and Marian Sulcer, a handsome actor and love-rival, took him home in a taxi. But he can't remember anything else.

Most of the book is taken up with Mladin's attempts to find out what is going on, trying to remain one step ahead of the police in the process. Although this plot is briskly told, the main delight of this book is its social context: it was written at a time when the ghastly Ceau'escus were in power and the state controlled everything. Arion's book is a brilliantly ironic satire on this system. Somehow he managed to get the script past the authorities to publication; the result is a constantly funny narrative that never falls into the trap of taking itself too seriously or producing political polemic. The plot unfolds, accompanied by Mladin's thoughts and sayings by his grandfather (all ending with "end quote" as a reference to the style of the Ceausescus' pronouncements), all these small pieces forming a mosaic of this bizarrely horrible society - in which most people in this novel exist by being eccentric or behaving against type.

The novel succeeds because it is determinedly light-hearted and irreverent.
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Format: Kindle Edition
When Andrei Mladin wakes up with a huge hangover only to discover a nice old man dead on the floor of his library, he decides to wake up the Sam Spade inside and to investigate the crime for himself. Mladin starts by recounting how he ended up at this crucial and deadly crossroads. In the process, I was acquainted with an interesting and idiosyncratic supporting cast: sprightly pensioner Miss Margareta, investigating policemen Buduru and Pahontu, the odious villa-dweller Doctor Comnoiu and his concert violinist genius daughter Mihaela (Mladin's love interest), a band of suitors for her hand, small-time crook Bomba, an assortment of grumbling neighbours and work colleagues.

My parents had a well stocked Noir library, with books by Romanian and foreign authors that had been gathered with many efforts in the 1980s. I first met Attack in the Library in the original when I was a teenager, and now I discovered it translated in English. It feels as fresh as the original, and it is only now in reading it again that I appreciate fully its importance as a crime novel of the best kind. The writing is lively and under the veneer of humour we can see a feisty spirit navigating the murky waters of censorship in order to deliver a high quality crime story unlike any other in Romania of those times. Some characterisations can feel a little one-dimensional, but the ensemble is saved by an excellent story with twists and turns and a surprising ending. Also, the snapshot on 1980s Romania is priceless.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Attack In The Library by George Arion.

This book is so much like an Agatha Christie or Ellis Peters novel... but it is in communist led Romania!
They would have been proud to have written this book.
It keeps you guessing until the end.
The final showdown reminded me of the showdown in the Peter Sellers film "A Shot In The Dark"... without the slapstick humour, of course!
Mladin, the hero, was terrific. Always putting himself down with sarcastic humour!
The regular page notes were a boon even if you are knowledgable of communist Romania. Every nation has it's own quirks and foibles... none more than us Brits!
The book needs to be read slowly and carefully, but I would recommend this to anybody.
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