Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Reading through to Summer...

After a quick read through Robert Ludlum's Holcroft Covenant
I was ready for something a bit less frenzied. It's a long, complex and depressing book, actually. The movie was different in resolution, but had the same ambiance. I then took up Marjory Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke, a very different sort of book from the usual procedural she wrote. It is a philosophical book, a thinkers story of the evolution of evil, juxtapositioned with good. A morality tale which leaves the reader glad for resolution, and appreciative of the chance to pick up the book at the local grocery store from a charity book heap for the low low price of one dollar. I finished the Allingham book, happy to have discovered a real sleeper, and then took up Alan Furst again. I have bought all the rest of his WWII era novels, as they are so well written and so thick with plotting, philosophy, ethical conundrums, and all the detail of that era in Europe and Eastern Europe of which he writes. His novels could be a class in history all by themselves, but human history, not dry recountings of espionage tales, not fast-paced romps through violence and mayhem, but thoughtfully moving accounts of human experiences at difficult times and in difficult places. Choices or no choices, the characters struggle to survive, to reach decisions made sometimes in the society of ethical vacuum, and always these choices open paths down which our characters struggle to maintain a human dignity, even in the midst of chaos and terror. Mundane daily survival becomes a problem of turmoil and compromise. I am reading Night Soldiers now.

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