Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mount TBR #51

I read this book for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted over at My Reader’s Block from January 1 – December 31, 2016. The challenge is to read books that you already own.

The Foreign Correspondent – Alan Furst

Alan Furst writes best-selling historical spy fiction. The novels are set before and during World War II. His protagonists are similar to Eric Ambler and Alfred Hitchcock’s ordinary people pulled into murky intrigues in which they have no control over anything except their own will, their own sense that they must strike back against Fascist tyranny.

Authority is mindless in that some people, especially in groups,  will force their wills on individuals if given a sliver of a chance. Conformity is mindless too because doing what one is told is a lot easier than thinking. But Furst’s protagonists resist mindlessly too. They don’t have deep philosophies about liberty and freedom. They just don’t like getting pushed around and feel they must fight or be overwhelmed by bigots, xenophobes, haters of all stripes. Want rights? Got to fight for them, against adversaries both foreign and domestic.

In this novel is set 1938, right on the eve of war. Carlo Weisz, along with scores of other Italian brain workers, has had to move to Paris. He belongs to a small group that publishes an underground newspaper that is printed in Italy, then distributed samizdat-style by sneaky teenagers in bus stations and other public places.

Carlo finds himself dealing with agents of various intelligence services and plug-uglies sent by Mussolini. He's able to visit Germany on reporting jobs and meets the woman that he loves, unfortunately married to anti-fascists and thus watched by the Gestapo.

The Foreign Correspondent is long on atmosphere and short on action.

Other Novels by Alan Furst Reviewed on this Blog

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