Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alan Furst's Greatest Hits, 28 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Spies Of Warsaw (Paperback)
Hum. There is a sense in which The Spies of Warsaw is a kind of Greatest Hits: characters, places, themes and narrative ideas from the past crop up all the time. It's now clear that Furst is in love with an idealised pre-1939 Europe of palaces, embassies, cocktail parties, country estates, aristocrats, night trains and doomed patriots. He does this very well (no-one better) but missing from this book is any real sense of Poland in the late 1930s with its unpleasant military dictatorship and desperate grinding poverty. He also makes elementary errors in the diplomatic world he tries to describe so thoroughly - you can have a chargé d'affaires or an Ambassador, for example, but not both at the same time. Like most Americans he can understand European politics intellectually but not emotionally. Here he tries to depict a couple of NKVD agents in a sympathetic light, but only produces a couple of caricatures. He has yet to depict a credible socialist or communist figure in any of his books. All in all, I can't help wondering if it's time for a break of some kind, delightful as his books are.
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