Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Mini-Review of "Midnight In Europe" by Alan Furst
Here in Boston I have a favorite Persian restaurant called Moby Dick House of Kabob. Since I am a regular customer, Moti, the owner and chef, knows my tastes. So, I do not order from the bill of fare, but simply wait for her and her staff to bring me whatever is fresh and special on the menu that day. I know it will always be made of the finest ingredients available, lovingly and skillfully assembled to produce a delicious taste and a nourishing meal That is what it feels like for me when I pick up the latest Alan Furst offering; familiar ingredients leading to a delicious and satisfying literary meal.
In his latest novel, Furst visits the last days of the Spanish Civil War, with much of the action taking place in and around Paris and aboard a Mexican tramp steamer making its way from Odessa through the Black Sea and on to Valencia. There are the usual spies, thugs, prostitutes, hotel concierges, chefs, waiters, bartenders and petty government officials, with just enough nobility and aristocrats to add some spice to the stew. We follow Cristian Ferrar, a Spanish emigre living in Paris and working for a New York based law firm. He gets drawn into a net of intrigue in trying to help the Spanish Republican forces acquire weapons before they collapse under the weight of Franco and his fascist allies.
If you know Alan Furst and his work, this novel will be right up your alley. If you want to discover a writer who can make WWII era Europe breathe again, then I commend to you "Midnight In Europe."