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The Foreign Correspondent: A Novel
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From Alan Furst, whom The New York Times calls ¡°America¡¯s preeminent spy novelist,¡± comes an epic story of romantic love, love of country, and love of freedom¨Cthe story of a secret war fought in elegant hotel bars and first-class railway cars, in the mountains of Spain and the backstreets of Berlin. It is an inspiring, thrilling saga of everyday people forced by their hearts¡¯ passion to fight in the war against tyranny.

By 1938, hundreds of Italian intellectuals, lawyers and journalists, university professors and scientists had escaped Mussolini¡¯s fascist government and taken refuge in Paris. There, amid the struggles of ¨¦migr¨¦ life, they founded an Italian resistance, with an underground press that smuggled news and encouragement back to Italy. Fighting fascism with typewriters, they produced 512 clandestine newspapers. The Foreign Correspondent is their story.

Paris, a winter night in 1938: a murder/suicide at a discreet lovers¡¯ hotel. But this is no romantic traged¨Cit is the work of the OVRA, Mussolini¡¯s fascist secret police, and is meant to eliminate the editor of Liberazione, a clandestine ¨¦migr¨¦ newspaper. Carlo Weisz, who has fled from Trieste and secured a job as a foreign correspondent with the Reuters bureau, becomes the new editor.
Weisz is, at that moment, in Spain, reporting on the last campaign of the Spanish civil war. But as soon as he returns to Paris, he is pursued by the French S?ret¨¦, by agents of the OVRA, and by officers of the British Secret Intelligence Service. In the desperate politics of Europe on the edge of war, a foreign correspondent is a pawn, worth surveillance, or blackmail, or murder.

The Foreign Correspondent is the story of Carlo Weisz and a handful of antifascists: the army officer known as ¡°Colonel Ferrara,¡± who fights for a lost cause in Spain; Arturo Salamone, the shrewd leader of a resistance group in Paris; and Christa von Schirren, the woman who becomes the love of Weisz¡¯s life, herself involved in a doomed resistance underground in Berlin.

The Foreign Correspondent is Alan Furst at his absolute best¨Ctaut and powerful, enigmatic and romantic, with sharp, seductive writing that takes the reader through darkness and intrigue to a spectacular denouement.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • new author for me
    i belong to a book club, so read books i wouldn't know about...this is excellent, and has led to other books of furst...try this one!...more info
  • Lo-Cal Version of the Real Thing
    This is a step up from an airplane read or a commuter book; engaging but of no particular noteworthiness. It is a lukewarm tale in the vein of Eric Ambler, whom Furst mentions as a strong influence. Ambler, who essentially created the genre of the spy thriller, remains the master and those who are not familiar with his work have a wonderful treat in store. This will be especially true for those who enjoyed The Foreign Correspondent or other Furth works.

    The story is strongest when it delves into the history of the period. There is an abundance of detail that signals that the writer has researched his subject thoroughly. The dialogue works hard to move the plot along, but lacks an ear for how conversations actually sound. The intimate scenes are necessary to the story but are painful and seem to have been written by a cloistered nun with a poor imagination.

    The enthusiasm with which this book was greeted is more a testament to the scarcity of quality in the genre than anything else. Do yourself a favor,(and save a buck) by directing your cursor to the many delights of Eric Ambler...more info
    Once again Alan Furst proves he`s then master of historical espionage genre. His situations are realistic and his characters live....more info
  • Not One of Furst's Better Books; 3.5
    After novels set in WWII itself, Furst returns to the interwar period. This book, unfortunately, is not up to the standard of his best books (Dark Star, Night Soldiers) or even his second line books (Dark Voyage, for example). Furst is a talented writer and this is still a better book than the considerable majority of thrillers. As with his other books, Furst is using a largely neglected aspect of the period, in this case the activities of anti-fascist Italian emigres as the setting for his story. Quite a few elements, however, are repetitions from his prior books. The central figure is an emigre journalist (somewhat like the hero of Dark Star), much of the action is set in Paris (several of his books), and there is an aristocratic love interest living in Germany with valued pet dogs (Dark Star again). Some of the characters of his prior books make appearances in this one. The repetition and self-referential character of this book is probably fun for fans but a little too cute. Furst needs to break some new ground. ...more info
  • A good read
    Alan Furst came to my attention through a New York Times Book Review about his newest book. After a little bit of research, mostly here on Amazon people's lists, I bought "Night Soldiers" and loved it so much that I immediately bought "The Foreign Correspondent" and enjoyed it almost as much. I now have "Dark Star" waiting for me to start on a flight I'm taking on Wednesday.

    These are great books of an era as well as a travelogue of European countries I love already and some to which I've never been but definitely will visit now. Oh, also, be careful. You'll want to take up smoking and sit alone in dark areas. Be strong. ...more info
  • The Foreign Correspondent of Success!!
    In his book, "The Foreign Correspondent - A Novel," Alan Furst, also known as Carlo Weisz in the book, fled to Mussolini's Italy in 1938 and established a beachfront of the Italian resistance in Paris. He describes his story when Mussolini's secret police murder Liberazione, the editor of the resistance's underground newspaper. This is when Carlo Weisz is chosen to replace him. The story unfolds later when his covert duties become increasingly hazardous when his day job with Reuters takes him to Berlin during the Nazi ramp-up for war. There, he rekindles a love affair with an old flame whose anti-Nazi friends have volatile information that could burn both the monstrous Mussolini and the Italy Weisz hopes to preserve.

    To not spoil the excitement of this novel, this is a highly recommended book for those who like to read thriller or suspense books. I was soo hooked on the book from beginning to end that I read it in less than one day. A must have for those who like to read for fun, and for those who are fans of Alan Furst, who is known to be America's preeminent spy novelist in the world today!!! ...more info
  • Disappointing
    As I had consumed all my leCarr¨¦, I sought something to fill the space of a long plane flight. This was suggested to me. If you are a JlC fan, be forewarned, this book's low-calorie diet will be very disappointing. Short on detail, a lot of repetitive word usage, even trite's all here. I have been told that this is not AF's best stuff, and I have no doubt that might be true. This feels formulaic, hurried. Remember the movie Foreign Correspondent? This book, of course, is not that story, but it illustrates an unusual point for me. Ordinarily, print has so much advantage over film in its ability to evoke imagination and supply rich textures. After all the praise of AF for his ability to evoke the moody 1930s, I was certainly jazzed to get some of that. But not this book. I was consistently aware I was reading a novel, unengrossed, unpersuaded, no disbelief suspended. The movie TFC, in contrast, is extremely effective in transporting you to pre-war times. It could well be--indeed, I have zero trouble imagining--that a movie of AF's book would actually be more interesting than the book itself, that in the hands of a great dirrector, it could be quite compelling. That's how unsatisfying the book is....more info
  • Good, if not great, read from Alan Furst
    I'm a Furst junkie and have never read anything of his that I didn't enjoy. "The Foreign Correspondent" is a good effort albeit a lesser one compared to earlier works. Furst's episodic approach effectively pushes the story of an anti-Fascist Italian journalist in pre-WW II France. The book's characters are somewhat more coarsely and broadly drawn than say, "Night Soldiers," and the plot line strains beyond the credible, but the language of "The Foreign Correspondent" delivers in the end. The reader is not to be disappointed. ...more info
  • Back To His Old Form
    This is the best novel Alan Furst has written in a long time. His first three serious novels, Night Soldiers, Dark Star, and The Polish officer, were terrific thrillers, in which he created a new mood and style for novels of intrigue. Set mostly in Western Europe in the thirties and early forties, the three books give a living, immediate feeling for the time and place as the stories unfold.

    His later books have been disappointments, parodies almost, of his earlier stuff. Containing little but atmosphere, with characters so cynical and world-weary they can barely rouse themselves to finish sentences, the books have been unmemorable.

    But now, with The Foreign Correspondent, some life has come back to Furst's writing. As with many of his books, the story begins in pre-war Paris. An Italian journalist, Carlo Weisz, is headquartered there, working as a correspondent for Reuters. Also, Weisz and a small group of expatriate Italians are producing an underground anti-fascist newspaper, Liberazione, which is written and edited in Paris, then secretly printed and distributed back in Italy. Because of this, Weisz and friends become the target of agents of Mussolini. Intrigue and peril follow, with side trips to the Spanish Civil War and Nazi Berlin, both places Furst has taken us before, and with the story winding to an ultimately satisfying conclusion.

    I think my pleasure in this book would have been unconditional if the part about Weisz's girlfriend in Berlin hadn't been basically recycled material from earlier books, notably Dark Star. Also, enough with the "So then"s .

    ...more info
  • Excellent
    Another Grand Slam for Mr. Furst. Tremendous, well developed characters, great period mood, very interesting story line....more info
  • The best of all his books.....
    I have read all of Alan Furst's novels. It has been nearly two years since his last novel so that may be influencing my opinion. I found this to be his best book. I just finished this book and then read Philip Kerr's newest novel and found this book much better. I think his character is again believable and yet still a hero. There is no tie in with his previous novels so you don't have to read his earlier books first. If you are new to Alan Furst grab this book it's probably his best. ...more info
  • boring, pointless, a total waste of time
    What on earth was the point of that? Cardboard characters mouthing turgid expositions of the state of the world. Plodding style showing utter ignorance of how commas are used. Stuff happens, and then more stuff happens, and then some more; plot points are portentously introduced and then abandoned; then suddenly nothing happens any more because the book is over. What happened to the traitor? What happened to Ferrara's book? What happened to Liberazione? What happened to Emil, and why did the cops pounce at the end? What was Christa doing in Berlin in the first place? What were the consequences of the murder at the beginning? Who the heck cares any more? Dreadful....more info
  • Not the old Furst I once knew...
    I bought this book after seeing a review in USA Today (perhaps, I should have actually read the review--my bad). One of the best comic novels I ever read was by Furst many years ago, hence I thought this book might be entertaining. In actuality, it is plodding and dull, with a protagonist who is neither engaging nor particularly interesting. There may be a story involved but it's not particularly apparent in the first half or so. Most books of this length I'd have digested in a sitting or two; this one has taken what seems like forever and I'm not sure I'll ever finish it, unless something starts to happen pretty soon. Very disappointing!...more info
  • Evocation of another world
    Furst is brilliant at character study, but more than that, he delivers you into another world. Pre-World II Europe becomes present. For anybody who's interested in those years of upheaval, extraordinary courage as well as human frailty and sinister ideologies, please get any of his extraordinary books....more info
  • A minor entry in the Furst canon
    I look forward to new novels by Alan Furst more than those by any other writer. However, I've just re-read The Foreign Correspondent and I still feel it's the least satisfying of his works. Furst seems to be fallng ever more in love with his descriptions of the ambience of pre-war Paris, to the point where passages of the novel read like self-parody. For example, there's a somewhat cringeworthy scene set at the restaurant which features in all his novels; it has cameos from characters who had more or less major roles in several of his previous works and adds nothing in terms of plot or character development. What is missing from The Foreign Correspondent is any sense of urgency. I'm reminded of The World at Night, which had a similar slight air of aimlessness but to Furst's credit he came back suberbly after that with Red Gold. Those two novels are extremely satisfying if read as halves of one complete work so perhaps Furst will return to the protagonist of The Foreign Correspondent and develop a plot around him which is the equal of his excellent characterisation...more info
  • Another Excellent Journey
    Reading Alan Furst's latest offering was like a taking a journey with a good friend. I have read all of his books, and Mr. Furst never fails to make me feel as though I am living in the Europe that he writes about and that I am part of the lives and the conversations of his well-drawn characters. Along with the tension he creates there is also a certain gemutlichkeit, of being at home and comfortable with those who populate his novels and the country where they reside. Many positive things have been written about this book, all of them true.

    Mr. Furst, however, is the only American author who can write about love-making without making this reader yawn and think: Oh, here is another adolescent, gratuitous, jump-your-bones scene. The love-making is adult, erotic and beautiful.

    Looking forward to the next one.

    ...more info
  • Okay but
    Like several other readers, I was less than impressed by this effort. I don't know if Furst has run out of gas or it is the theme, it is getting a little stale. For me, it is a long way away from the atmosphere of "The World at Night."...more info
  • Furst lite is still Furst great
    I am a fan of Alan Furst and have been since Night Soldiers and then Dark Star which I think are his very best and which I re-read. A Furst book is an event for me so when I innocently asked for any new Furst books and came up with Foreign Correspondent I was really excited and got it before its UK release. I am such a fan that I recently bought Shadow Trade, one of the 3 earlier novels Furst himself doesn't rate and I payed more for that mauled ex-library paperback than for Foreign Correspondent brand new and hard cover. Will read that next. Carlo Weisz a new hero does indeed seek to fight fascism with a typewriter, and as an Italian emigre Reuter's correspondent in Paris - Furst's real love - on the eve of war, we see through Weisz's eyes Germany preparing, Italy joining but unaware of the cost, and Paris uncertain. "Furst-lite" is a little unfair of me as Dark Voyage was shorter than these 269 pages, and not as good. The World at Night and Red Gold featuring Casson are next after Night Soldiers and Dark Star for me, and Foreign Correspondent is their equal and Carlo Weisz is as endearing and unlikely a hero as Casson. The verismilitude of Furst's novels is here again, probably because its Paris based, and so are the whizzing dialogue, the subtlties of plot, the quiet tensions and the humour. The last scene really left me smiling. I learned a while ago that Furst was contemplating delving into the complexities of Palestine in this same period. Can we expect Weisz or even the indomitable Andre Szara - who we see very breifly at Heininger's Brasserie in Foreign Correspondent - to re-emerge in such a setting, or will there be a brand new Furst hero? And though Furst's got his novels down to a craft, a few more pages wouldn't hurt. Or am I the Emperor in Amadeus and is Furst's answer likely to mimic Mozart with 'there's as many words as there need to be' ? Whatever, I can't wait....more info
  • Wonderful espionage fiction
    As an espionage fiction fan, I own almost all of Alan Furst's novels. With a deft hand, he brings to life the people and places of pre-WWII with just enough noir atmosphere and subtle, fatalistic humor to keep me reading again and again.The prose is always just right and the stories compelling. I wish there were more espionage authors like Furst to read in between his book releases. ...more info
  • Europe In The Shadows
    Not Mr. Furst's best novel,but very good. A must read for Furst fans anbd those who enjoy the Greene genre....more info