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Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: The World at Night by Alan Furst

Title: The World at Night
Author: Alan Furst
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: January 2002
Source: Borrowed from a friend

What's the Story?:

From "Paris, 1940. The civilized, upper-class life of film producer Jean Casson is derailed by the German occupation of Paris, but Casson learns that with enough money, compromise, and connections, one need not deny oneself the pleasures of Parisian life. Somewhere inside Casson, though, is a stubborn romantic streak. When he’s offered the chance to take part in an operation of the British secret service, this idealism gives him the courage to say yes. A simple mission, but it goes wrong, and Casson realizes he must gamble everything—his career, the woman he loves, life itself. Here is a brilliant re-creation of France—its spirit in the moment of defeat, its valor in the moment of rebirth."

My Two Cents:

In "The World at Night," we are introduced to Jean Casson, a man whose life as a filmmaker in Europe during World War II is upended by how much the world is changing. Casson knows that he must adapt or get left behind so adapt he does. While I like historical fiction, I usually do not read a lot of historical noir or historical mystery like this book is but after having Furst's books highly recommended to me by a friend, I knew that I wanted to give these books a try and I am very happy that I did!

Jean Casson is a normal, everyday man who gets himself into some extraordinary circumstances in this book. He is asked to join a covert operation with the British, which he knows may put his life in grave danger. He is intrigued though and driven to help the cause. I really liked Casson as a character. Furst adds a lot of character detail and back story to make Casson feel really real, which I liked.

One thing that I also really liked about this book and the other two books that I have read by Furst so far is that Furst knows how to create atmosphere, which is a real treat for historical fiction lovers who really want to be swept away by world building and armchair traveling. What is most impressive to me is that Furst is able to put a lot of detail into this book without running up the page number tally. Every small thing adds to the overall feeling of the book and makes for an engaging story!


1 comment:

  1. I have a bunch of Furst books on my shelf, and I think this is one of them, so I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. I've only read one of his books so far, but I agree with you about his ability to provide detail and set the scene without being wordy.


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