Europe in Autumn Paperback – 13 Feb 2014
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
Le Carré is referenced within the text, and quite rightly. I haven’t read his books for a long time, but I used to devour them and felt on home ground with this novel as a result – but Le Carré never wrote anything quite like this.
The story is told from the point of view of Estonian chef Rudi who is recruited, not as a spy, but into the equally secretive ‘Les Coureurs des Bois’, an organisation that transports ‘packages’ – which could be anything from messages in one form or another to actual people – across borders. Europe at this point is full of borders, more and more of them appearing all the time as countries break up into smaller states and ‘polities’, making international communication increasingly difficult.
The story is told in a series of episodes, with links and hints and a fabulously rich texture that means it begs to be re-read the moment you finish. After just two back-to-back readings, I’m dying to get back into it to pick up some of the deeper layers which I’m sure I’ve missed.
Depth, richness – makes it sound like a heavy read, but it isn’t remotely.Read more ›
Yet by page 100, I was almost nodding off. I just couldn't get into the book. Nothing seemed to be happening. There was lots of spycraft and plenty of peril - but precious little motivation. Why did these people bother? Where was it all going? I actually put the book aside for a few weeks, and only came back to it because I real;ly don't like to leave a book half finished.
I am so glad I did. In the second half, the story really takes off. the peril is cranked up, threats emerge and Rudi - the mild manered chef who, all through the first part, I felt should have stayed in his kitchen - emerges as a daring and driven agent. The plot puts out shoots and suckers in all directions like some killer vine, rapidly turning from a tech(ish), noir(ish) thrillery thing to a truly science fictional and mind boggling book. That second half give sit just the bump it needs to be a truly gripping story. What's more, it's an unusual story whose roots in the contestested nationalities of middle Europe make it refreshingly different, peering in, as it does, form outside at the oddities of little England.
So, in the end, a satisfying read, which really pleased me. I think the book does have some structural problems - it's not that long, so the more pacy second half is rather too short and Hutchinson therefore has to pass rapidly over some situations and plot developments that could have done with more space. And I fear that others will not get past that first part. So four stars rather than 5, and I hope a sequel is in the works.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book defies categorisation. OK so you already know it's a spy thriller, set in the near future with a bit of sci fi and fantasy thrown in.... Read morePublished 22 days ago by AvidReader
Simply brilliant - a fascinating and believable tail of topographic quirky-ness.Published 27 days ago by S Laurie
I bought this book on the strength of its nominations, and I was not disappointed. It is an espionage thriller but then again it isn't. Read morePublished 1 month ago by D Lauchlan
What was the plot? what ever it was it was terribly complex and very poorly explained. I ended up speed reading and I don't think I missed much. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Christopher Mahon
A fractured Europe with the EU in disarray after a flu pandemic has hit the world. Clever novel which successfully mixes two genres. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kay Smillie
Weird is this and I had to keep my wits about me to hold on to all I had found out as the story continued. Read morePublished 3 months ago by T. J. Jarratt
This is a spy novel. About a chef. With a side of sci-fi. Now, that sounds a terrible combination! But Mr. Read morePublished 3 months ago by A. Wasenczuk
I cannot review this book because I neither ordered nor received it!Published 3 months ago by J B Stokes
Complex with many twists and unexpected happenings, this is a meaty book with a lot going on. It will definitely bear multiple readings. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Jamieson