Monthly Archives: January 2009

Alan Furst, “The Spies of Warsaw”

So maybe it’s not a formula. Maybe it’s a recipe, which implies, to me at least (cook rather than chemist), more latitude. Ingredients include likable melancholy hero, redoubtable Nazi villain(s), a modest dose of spycraft, several discreet but circumstantial sex … Continue reading

Posted in historical fiction, thriller | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Deborah Devonshire & Patrick Leigh-Fermor, “In Tearing Haste”

I love that the Duchess of Devonshire is reduced to “Deborah Devonshire” in her capacity as an author.  It’s a kind of leveling perhaps — only not really.  One of the many, many pleasures in this volume is the grandeur … Continue reading

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W.G. Sebald, “Vertigo”

I kept wondering, as I read this, why I was enjoying it so much. Nothing happens. A man goes on a trip to Verona, and gets nervous in a train station. Then he goes to a sinister pizzeria and is … Continue reading

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Left Unfinished

How do you decide when you’re not going to finish a book? Sometimes you get to a certain point and think, “Ugh!” (Bridges of Madison County, for instance.) More often for me, it just gets a little slow-going and the … Continue reading

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Thomas Perry, “Runner”

Man, that was fun. I love Thomas Perry. I have this theory that the really good thriller or mystery writers are the really smart ones: sometimes you get a little growl, like the engine of a Lamborghini in a traffic … Continue reading

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Gustave Flaubert, “Madame Bovary”

As a comparative literature major in college I was assigned this book at least three times.  It’s funny that I never read it, because I tend to be pretty conscientious. I do remember, though, finding it excruciatingly dull the first … Continue reading

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Mark Kurlansky, “Salt”; Gustave Flaubert, “Madame Bovary”

Long silence. Long books. Also in process, because I need something lighter, a reread of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History which I may not stick with. It seems both creepy and jejune. But maybe I’m not giving it a chance … Continue reading

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