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The Foreign Correspondent
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on 31 May 2015
Can anyone present the world at war as well as Furst? I particularly warm to his leading characters who appear like human corks bobbing on the tide of history. They are in marked contrast to the characters who inhabit the shadows. S. Kolb is my favourite, closely followed by the Hungarian Count Polyani. The sinister world of international intelligence activity in the years before.and during World War 2 is brought vividly to life. Soviet.German and Italian state agencies send a shiver down the spine and our own agencies are only slightly less worrying!. I must visit the celebrated brasserie near the Place de La Bastille and see the famous bullet hole for myself.
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on 6 April 2012
This was my first Furst.
I was expecting to get into it as one might Graham Greene. It was disappointing because despite the reputation, this book never really took off. The character descriptions were good but I never really got to know the MC (main character). I understand this is't one of his best, so will follow the recommendation of another reviewer and try 'Dark Star'.
The book's main effect on me was to make me feel that the realism was good - both journalism and spying must be boring in real life, but that isn't what one reads thrillers for. The high spot of the action seemed to be when Weiss (the MC) gets hit by a stranger in a crowd and thrill of thrills - breaks his specs!
One of the problems with the MC's relationship with the woman he loves is, it is under-described. His feelings for her don't come through strongly enough, so in the end you become ambivalent about what happens to her off-stage.
Sorry, but this one can't be his best, so I'll try again.
Three stars because it is competent and the descriptive prose is effective.
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on 25 September 2017
A good read - based in occupied Europe with a focus on Italian emigres who look to engage in counter facist propoganda. A good eye for detail and locations well defined. Furst always seem to provide a page turner !
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on 20 December 2006
My mother recommended Furst's books to me and I hugely enjoyed his dark journeys through the underbelly of a Europe descending inexorably into chaos and war. His characters are always well drawn, rounded, flawed but engaging and his descriptions of pre-war Paris, in particular, make the city sound even more seductive than the modern reality. He creates intriguing plots without being unnecessarily convoluted and he has a great eye for period and place. What concerns me, though, with his more recent offerings, and, sadly, the 'The Foreign Correspondent' is no exception, is that he seems to lose interest (faith?) in his story as the climax approaches. Here, he painstakingly re-creates the mood of panic and paranoia amongst a group of Italian emigre resisters of the Fascist Italian regime over 200 and odd pages and then the strangely anti-climactic denouement hurries and scurries past in something of a blur leaving one strangely unsatisfied. Make no mistake I enjoyed the book but I felt slightly cheated at the end by a feeling that Furst had something rather more important to do than sustain the tension and pace of the book right to the end. Some plot lines were too easily and simply tied into convenient little knots whilst others were left lying around loose with barely a second thought. A great shame but, no matter, I will certainly buy his next one, if only for the first two-thirds of it.
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on 15 May 2012
I bought this book after hearing that a film was to be made of one of Alan Furst's books. Very atmospheric and beautifully written I was there in the dark streets of Paris. this book took me back to reading smiley's people and all those spy dramas of the the cold war. I'll be reading more!!
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on 29 September 2015
A fascinating picture of pre-war Europe and how difficult it was for people with any sort of integrity or humanity to take on fascism, against the background of the dead hand of appeasement
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on 6 March 2016
Interesting story and like all his books evokes the period.
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on 14 October 2017
A well written yarn. A good story set in Paris leading up to WWar 2. Fine plotting in a fascinating historical context.
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on 3 December 2015
Trying a new author, enjoying so far, will try another.
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on 18 January 2015
A great read as with all Alan Furst books.
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