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Europe in Autumn Paperback – 13 Feb 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (13 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781081956
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781081952
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.1 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Dave Hutchinson's Europe in Autumn, presents a near-future Europe fractured into hundreds of nations or "polities", each with its own strictly controlled border. The Les Coureurs des Bois is a shady organisation which delivers packages, and sometimes people, across these borders. Estonian chef Rudi, working in Krakow when the novel opens, is drawn into the organisation and finds himself embroiled in ever more complex situations. Hutchinson draws a convincing picture of a fragmented continent - he's especially good at describing the industrial wasteland of the former Poland - as Rudi finds his life under threat. Unable to trust anyone, especially Les Coureurs, Rudi attempts to work out who wants him dead, and why. The author's authoritative prose, intimate knowledge of eastern Europe, and his fusion of Kafka with Len Deighton, combine to create a spellbinding novel of intrigue and paranoia." --The Guardian

"One of the most sophisticated science fiction novels of the decade: a tour-de-force debut, pacey, startlingly prescient, and possessed of a lively wit that never fails to convince and charm its readers." --LA Review Of Books

About the Author

Dave Hutchinson was born in Sheffield in 1960. After reading American Studies at the University of Nottingham, he became a journalist. He s the author of five collections of short stories and one novel, and his novella The Push was shortlisted for the 2010 BSFA award for short fiction. He has also edited two anthologies and co-edited a third. His short story The Incredible Exploding Man featured in the first Solaris Rising anthology, and appeared in the 29th Year s Best Science Fiction collection. He lives in north London with his wife and several cats.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hutchinson's entire Europe-series are wonderful: not quite science fiction, not quite crime, not quite current realism, but some of all. At the time of writing, we are waiting for the fourth and last in the series, but I do not hesitate to say: buy them. This is the kind of books you can read several times, and each time you notice new details and nuances. Solidly crafted, these books will confuse, delight, mystify, and engage.
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This is an extraordinary book. It weaves together more ideas than I think I've ever seen in a single book, and features a wide range of recognizable, interesting characters. The writing is clear, and often very funny; the plot is all over the show, but somehow arrives at a satisfying conclusion. The main character often disappears for chapters at a time, only to emerge when needed in a way that makes you think "I should have seen that coming!".

I was going to complain that there isn't much evidence of character development - but on reflection, I think that's not true. Many characters are described in a way that shows how their character was formed - often very economically outlined. The plot is driven by character - even if there's also a lot of action.

One of the best books I've read in a long time - recommend it!
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Read the series back to back, probably better that way, I think there would be a sense of having forgotten something if done separately, there was still a sense of having missed something, but I don't think I did. And here lies the problem, the scene shifts are massive, often with an inferred period of elapsed time with a new set if characters, (who may not be new). And the conclusion comes from beyond left field, which is a little unsatisfying perhaps.

However, even given this, it is a great read, a very novel idea, very very readable, and still deserves 5 stars. It actually reminds of Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash, although I can't put my finger on why, certainly polities and burbclaves are similar, but it's deeper than that.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finished this book the night before the Brexit Referendum, snuggled up in a tent on the Scilly Isles thinking "what a great distopian fantasy, haha". Then I woke up in the night and it had started coming true. Scary
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Like all good altered reality science fiction stories you begin with something one step from familiar and build it. But with this there's a wonderful catch. This has humour, espionage, politics war and cooking. A beautifully​ realised world and a story told at breakneck pace.
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Hutchinson is a fantastic writer - this book was a fabulous journey through a broken future Europe. I read this book with no idea where it was going to go which was a brilliant way to discover it.
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By DC on 18 July 2017
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great story
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Starts out as a sort of espionage thriller set in an odd future of a Europe fragmented into "countries" which vary in size from four blocks of flats to what appears to be most of Germany, including a seceded Scotland but also large blanks like anything outside Eastern Europe. We follow the life of Rudi a sometime cook subverted to a Coureur du Bois, an oddly named organisation which transfers things and people from one place to another with no apparent purpose. He goes back to his home in Estonia where his father begins a movement to make a "polity" of an ancient forest straddling the border with Poland; this ends bloodily and he is rescued by English intelligence, why is never explained but the plot ambles on with him wandering around a seemingly unchanged London and he is allowed to disappear, smuggled across the border to Scotland. Thereafter the story changes abruptly into the search for access to an alternative universe and, after an episode in Prague, travels back to the forest to successfully smuggle people from the Community, the other universe. It then ends with Rudi giving a warning that more is to come. It is well written, gives a good picture of a run-down Poland and the paranoia of spies which could have been in this time line together with the great idea of a transcontinental railway that appears to build itself and then declares itself a country, together with razor wire fences and its own "Checkpoint Charlie". The tale also includes invisibility cloaks like Harry Potter, computers made of cloth and portable computers whose batteries last for weeks without recharge. It all shows a great imagination and I enjoyed reading it but it cannot allay the feeling that it was a waste of time and talent when so little is explained.
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