Monday, August 30, 2010

The Fall

"In other words, thrillers are by their nature anti literary, because literature is about, among other things, ambiguity."

Justin Cartwright, "Cloak and Swagger," Review of Alan Furst's, Spies of the Balkans, The New York Times Book Review, August 29, 2010.

Not much ambiguity this time in Furst's World War 2 existential hero. Another country, another role. I've looked forward to Furst's new books ever since reading Dark Star some years ago. They've gotten thinner and thinner. For the first time, I couldn't finish this one, a benchmark I never wanted to achieve.

My problem concerned the same old, same old, now on steroids and with a meandering plot. The reviewer discovered more fine-grained problems in the metaphors, language, and dialogue used by Furst.

"This sort of thing raises doubts about Furst's understanding of context and the depth of his research."

It's tough knocking out a new book every year or so. Letdown was inevitable. Let's hope there's a rebound next year.

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