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Not my usual type of book. But I was hooked.
Now to buy a hard copy.
Unfortunately so many of the undercurrents in the story seem present in modern day Europe which makes it easier to relate to the characters.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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That may sound like a recommendation. It's not. Only after finishing this book did I look up the author's credentials. What do you know. A first novel by a philosopher. The philosophy is in fact the draggiest part. Descriptions of all of the locations and political intrigues are written as if regurgitated from deep research, so deep that the typical reader can't follow. I knew about the POUM only because I had just read a long New Yorker review of a book about the Spanish Civil War. So it's an anti-Stalinist party of former Trotskyists. If that had anything important to do with the character who flights in Spain, maybe it was worth bringing it up. But no, just another complication, without justification. And the sex. These scenes would qualify for worst sex scenes ever: who talks about "labia" in good writing about sex? And Rita, the main character, is portrayed as a "free spirit," which means in this book she sleeps with everyone who is unlikely, while still remaining pure where it is likely. The situations are a stretch. People pop up all over Europe. and then suddenly can speak Catalan, Russian, English, Polish, German -- just out of the blue. And speak well enough not to be recognized. AND, the "dramatic" situations are in fact so unlikely -- with a lot of foreshadowing about what a terrible mistake is being made, but it comes down to the smallest, most unconvincing slip, like asking "Are there still a lot of Jews in Berlin?" A question anyone might have asked under Nazi rule without having a bigot immediately decide they are Jewish.
Just terrible. And the narrator sounds so pompous, and his American accent is so wrong, it just added to the unpleasant experience.
Blah! This was a bargain book of the day, which is going to make me dubious about any other special offers, unless they are of classics.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
22 of 25 people found this review helpful
I found the story interesting and engaging. However, the very proper British gentleman narrating made it a bit difficult for me to appreciate the emotions and thoughts of the primary character. He sounded as if he were reading a technical journal while relating some very intimate and emotional scenes.
40 of 48 people found this review helpful