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Wild Schemes and Broken Dreams marred alas by Character fatigue?
on 8 January 2011
There is something not right with this book but I can't quite put my finger on it. Sometimes the burden of writing about the same characters seems to become too much for an author to sustain as time goes on. Publishers and the public want more of the same but after a time it seems to get harder and harder to keep it fresh and keep it tight. This is not the best Arkady Renko story - all the elements are there - Moscow, a city of wild schemes and broken dreams - grubby,vibrant,menacing - Arkady, the good man who refuses to be ground down. There are strong story threads - a girl escaping to Moscow from the provinces, a theme that has been played out in real life every day for years,the relationship between Arkady and the damaged troubled boy he has befriended. Put it all together and this should have been a classic but it just isn't - just like a part cooked pizza, this story is soggy in the middle. Characters are just storyboard sketches. The attention to plot detail seems have drifted.
It's not just the author - look at the cover - a train in the snow emerging from a forest - is it the Taiga? Possibly except that the locomotives look suspiciously American.