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In Which I Blantantly Disregard My Two-Month Absence…

November 25, 2008

…and talk about how I found the perfect spy novel.

Those who regularly read my blog, or at least used to *big sigh* (let’s not talk about what my little blog traffic line graph looks like right now), know that I love a great spy story. Unfortunately, I hold spy stories to very high standards (unless, of course, Daniel Craig is acting them out), so this year I have yet to find a new favourite spy author.

Until now.

And who is the lucky author, who with ten books to his name is sure to appear more often in my ‘currently reading sidebar’ (note to self: update that!)?

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you:

Alan Furst

I just finished reading Night Soldiers, and it’s exactly what Eva’s ideal spy novel is. It’s introspective and philosophical; each of the characters truly embodies their nationalities; no one speaks an absurd amount of language fluently; the settings were wonderfully drawn; I cared about the characters; the ending was perfection.

I don’t think I need to say more than that, do I? If you’re interested in Europe from around the rise of Hitler to the end of WWII, if you’re interested in spies, if you’re interested in how people cope in impossible situations and live with the consequences of wrenching decisions, you should go read this book. Of course, parts of it are dark, but I promise it’s not a tear-jerker (and we know how easily I cry). I didn’t know anything about the plot going into the book, and I think that was for the best. But you should know that this isn’t pulp fiction; Hurst has a gorgeous style and a wideview lens that reminded me a little of Tolstoy. That being said, the action is always moving, and I had to keep turnign the pages to find out if everything was going to be ok. Go read this book!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2008 8:53 pm

    Well, welcome back, then :) And I expect that your traffic will pop back up if you keep posting — because you’ll be showing up in everyone’s feed readers once more (since I doubt many people actually would have unsubscribed).

    Anyway, happy reading, happy Hurst… hope school is going well!

  2. November 25, 2008 9:31 pm

    Don’t worry about traffic. Readers will come back eventually. It happens to me after I take a long vacation to the tropics! Hehe… :)

    You have successfully sold the book to me. I’ve been reading Cold Mountain, which is set during the time of Civil War. A spy novel like Night Soldiers would be a perfect thriller for me.

    Hope school is going well for you!

  3. Sarah permalink
    November 25, 2008 10:25 pm

    Welcome back Eva! Fortunately I’ve still gor some Le Carre’s to read, but I will get to Furst after that. Glad to hear the hype is deserved.

  4. November 26, 2008 2:09 am

    Better than LeCarré? The mind boggles.

  5. November 26, 2008 5:01 am

    and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, Eva! Great review, I love the enthusiasm.

  6. November 26, 2008 5:43 am

    I added it to my wishlist!

  7. November 26, 2008 5:54 am

    I was just thinking of you yesterday! I hope school is going well and Happy Thanksgiving!


  8. November 26, 2008 6:08 am


    And it’s wonderful to see you back!

  9. November 26, 2008 7:47 am

    It’s so great to see a post from you in my feed reader! I hope you have a fabulous thanksgiving and get a small break from your hectic and busy life. :)

  10. November 26, 2008 7:49 am

    It’s nice to see you!

  11. November 26, 2008 8:05 am

    Nice to see you’re back! I’ve missed reading your posts.

  12. November 26, 2008 8:52 am

    Welcome back! I’m not the biggest fan of spy novels myself, but I’ll keep an eye out for Furst. :)

  13. November 26, 2008 3:04 pm

    Welcome back (I hope this is more than a fleeting glimpse of you. No pressure, though)! I’m not a big spy fan, but you’ve just given me something to give Bob for Christmas, as this sounds right up his alley (especially with the comparison to Tolstoy).

  14. November 26, 2008 3:26 pm

    Christine, thanks! I’m not super-worried about my traffic, it’s just that WP’s graph feels like it’s rubbing it in my face, lol.

    Matt, school’s going so well! We have two weeks left after Thanksgiving, and I am SO ready for the break. :)

    Sarah, thanks! I’ve got quite a few leCarre left as well, but for some reaosn this year I wanted to find a new author.

    Janet, not better than leCarre…equally as good in a different way. Much less British…the main characters are Eastern European and American.

    Care, thanks!!

    Nik, I hope you enjoy it. :)

    Lezlie, aww thanks; school’s going really well.

    Debi, yay! I’ve miised you all. :D

    Heather, thanks so much!! I’m finally feeling back in control, which is great. ;)

    Tara, thanks!

    Jeane, I’ve missed all of your posts as well. :)

    Jessi, this is definitely more than a spy novel. But it is a bit gritty, and I don’t like gritty murder mysteries, so I understand if you’re not sold on it.

    Emily, I hope Bob enjoys it! This is definitely more than a fleeting glimpse: I promise. :D

  15. November 27, 2008 6:33 am

    Glad to see you back in the game.

    I’ve enjoyed several Furst novels to date, also. He’s very good. I’d also like to recommend Eric Ambler. Not so well known, but some terrific cold war era stuff.

  16. November 27, 2008 8:20 am

    Welcome back! I’ve been missing your posts. Like Christine said, you will shop up in everyone’s reader and you will have a traffic boost in no time.

  17. November 27, 2008 11:16 am

    First of all, it’s great to see you posting again :D

    Though I’m not normally a big fan of spy novels (though to be fair I can’t really say that because I haven’t read all that many), what you said about this one being introspective and philosophical and having strong characters got me interested.

  18. November 29, 2008 8:58 am

    THANK YOU! for coming back, for being you, and for this wonderful review so now i have a book to buy my 20 year old son who loves this period of history! thank you!! I have two weeks left to get his gifts before we leave – he’s working and hanging with friends, England is not where he wants to be, silly boy! – so I have to leave gifts behind. Now I’ll have something other than a gift card and video game!! (he hates making lists up…) Hurray!

  19. November 29, 2008 5:57 pm

    CB, I’ll have to try him too!

    Callista, thanks. :D

    Nymeth, it’s great to be posting again! This is definitely not your typical spy novel.

    Susan, you leave the sweetest comments ever. :D Hope your son enjoys it: he is very silly to not want to go to England!!

  20. December 1, 2008 2:51 pm

    Eva, good to see you back in the armchair again ;)

    This novel is certainly one my son would like – thanks for the recommendation!


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Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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