"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The World at Night

TITLE: The World at Night
AUTHOR: Alan Furst

I've read many books by Alan Furst -- and plan to read them all -- and have become addicted to the details he puts into his World War II-era novels set in Europe. Many of them, as does this one, is set in France, and this one focuses on Parisian Jean Claude Casson, a film producer who gets caught up in the affairs of war, resistance, and spycraft despite his best efforts to be left alone to work and love in the manner he did both before the Germans came.

This is the first of Furst's books to feature Casson; unfortunately, not realizing it at the time, I'd read the second one (Red Gold) years ago, and now, finally, have read this one. Despite knowing how it ends, this was an exciting read. First, recalled to active duty to fight the invading Germans, Casson spends a few harrowing weeks with a unit filming the war for newsreel footage. The French are overwhelmed, German occupation begins, and back in Paris, Casson is approached by contacts from the film industry, one who wants him to continue making movies and another who asks him to participate in a scheme against the Germans. Reluctantly, Casson agrees to both; the former reunites him with the actress he loves and the latter puts them both in danger.

The beauty of Furst's books is his ability to realistically recreate time and place, putting the reader into the story. I hope there's a third book featuring Casson because I really want to know what happens to him.