Friday, June 23, 2006

The Foreign Correspondent another triumph by Alan Furst

58. The Foreign Correspondent, Alan Furst. Espionage, 6-23, p. 273.

Most Americans today don’t understand how truly complex the world was in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. For most of us, it lined up as the Americans and British against the Germans and Japanese. The French were occupied and the Italians were foolish.

That world's true complexity has all the impact of a major character in Alan Furst’s delicious new novel The Foreign Correspondent.

The correspondent is Carlo Weisz, an Italian émigré, living in Paris where he works for Reuters and is editor of a small, liberal anti-Fascist newspaper.

Weisz’s complicated life grows increasingly more complicated. His lover, a German aristocrat, refuses to leave Berlin, despite the growing threat to her life. Both the Italian secret police and the British are after Weisz; the Italians want to stop him, the British want the small newspaper to become a large one.

Furst is a widely successful novelist for two reasons: He is a gifted storyteller who has a master's command of tone and pacing and his easy familiarity with the period leading up to the Second World War is impressive in scope. The Foreign Correspondent is riveting; the pacing meticulous, measured, breath-taking. From his familiarity with various languages to his knowledge of the Italian equivalent of Life magazine, Furst immerses the reader in the France, Germany and Italy of the late ‘30s

The Foreign Correspondent is another triumphant foray into the troubled European past. Bravo, Signore Furst.

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