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The World at Night Hardcover – May 14, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (May 14, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679413138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679413134
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Alan Furst has written three excellent thrillers set in unexpected corners of World War II: Dark Star, Night Soldiers and The Polish Officer. Now he continues his exploration of courage under fire with this haunting story of a film producer caught inside Nazi-occupied France, and what he has to do not only to survive but also to come out with his personal ideas of honor intact.

From Publishers Weekly

With uninspired plotting, Furst makes disappointing use of a vividly evoked wartime Paris in his latest WWII espionage novel (The Polish Officer; Dark Star; Night Soldiers). Hedonistic Parisian film producer Jean Casson thrives in Paris's active film industry, enjoying the colorful social scene, the posh restaurants and the beautiful, available women. But this world he knows so well all but disappears when Germans march into France and seize the city. At first, Casson strives merely to survive, but he's soon drawn into duty as an amateur intelligence operative and finds himself in a precarious position, buffeted by British Intelligence, resistance forces and the Gestapo. In the process, Casson discovers two powerful forces within himself?his patriotism and his consuming passion for an old lover, the beautiful actress Citrine. Furst brings this fascinating, historic Paris to life with his usual masterful use of period detail. But while Casson makes an intriguing protagonist, his relationships with other characters are presented rather schematically?in particular, his affair with Citrine, which ultimately proves so influential, is never satisfactorily developed. More importantly, Casson's career as a spy, marked by mixed success on missions that seem insignificant, is anticlimactic and a bit confusing. In the end, the novel never attains the dramatic pitch of Furst's recent The Polish Officer.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. Now translated into seventeen languages, he is the bestselling author of Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, The World at Night, Red Gold, Kingdom of Shadows, Blood of Victory, Dark Voyage, and The Foreign Correspondent Born in New York, he now lives in Paris and on Long Island.

Customer Reviews

Recommend this book for all Those interested in the period of time.
Anne B Herman
While not as good as his amazing Kingdom of Shadows, this is a book you won't want to put down...even as you try to slow down to make it last longer.
Lilot S. Moorman
The characters are well drawn and the story is exciting and like all of Furst's books, difficult to put down.
J. Guberman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Prauge Traveler on April 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
For the first time in his well crafted series of espionage novels set amid the interwar years and opening acts of WW2 taking place in Eastern Europe, Furst departs from his usual stomping grounds in "The World at Night". Firstly, the story takes place in France, and its main character, Jean Casson, is French. Secondly, the timeline is from the invasion of France into World War 2- often occurring only in the final chapters of Furst's other novels.

His accomplishment is varied in its quality; at first I was not so interested in reading this book because the originality of his others seemed to be replaced by a run-of-the-mill WW2 spy novel. However, Jean Casson holds his own as an interesting and conflicted protagonist. As he converts his skills in media production to resisting Nazi rule, Casson is torn between the life of affluence he knew, and the desire to fight for the memory of France that seems to be fading all around him. Additionally, Casson's love interest adds another layer of complexity to the story.

"The World at Night" has an ending that left me waiting for more, and a little unsatisfied, which is my biggest critique of the story. I think Furst himself must have realized this, and he returns to Jean Casson's plight in the only direct sequel he has written to date (April, 2006), and the continues the tale in "Red Gold".

Although this novel can easily be read as a stand-alone book, some readers will enjoy beginning their foray into Furst's world with "Night Soldiers", his original and possibly best spy novel. This book introduces several characters who make appearances throughout Furst's other novels set in the same period of time and general geographical local.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Newt Gingrich THE on December 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Once again, Alan Furst has brilliantly taken us back into the 1930s and 1940s, this time to Paris in the immediate aftermath of the Nazi Germany invasion. The protagonist, a film producer who initially thinks life can continue as normal, takes us step by step through the transition from sadness to resentment to anger to resistance against a brutal occupying force.

Furst's real achievement in this novel is taking the mundane and the normal and weaving them into the difficult and violent world of war and occupation. Everyday experiences like eating, drinking, earning a living, loving and talking are the primary daily behaviors around which the characters interact, but they are all intruded upon by the occupation. This is what makes the book so "real."

Furst combines history, fiction, and the mysteries of espionage as well as anyone since Eric Ambler. He is always worth reading.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on February 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
"The World At Night", is actually the first of a pair of books that tell the story of Jean Casson, a former movie producer who is faced with finding a way to survive the onset and extended occupation of Paris in World War II. France was not only divided into parts by the Germans, it was further sub-divided by a variety of groups that had their own agenda. Jean tries to maintain his life, and protects those he cares about, all the while coping with what it means to be a patriot.
Alan Furst writes about a narrow by eventful time from 1933 to 1945. His books are meticulously accurate to the point they would pass inspection by many readers of history. The author takes an unusual step at the end of his books by sharing with readers his sources for the novels he creates. This is not done in an academic bibliography or a blizzard of footnotes, rather he writes conversationally about what he reads, and what he suggests as reading for those who are interested.
In this first book Jean Casson will take part as a photographer during the short-lived French defense. He eventually finds himself taking on a task he believes will help France through his aiding the British. This is not a character that has a desire to be heroic; he seems to just want to find his place. Questions of what is honorable, and what constitutes loyalty constantly shadow him. In many ways he is the personification of the nation he lives in. He is conflicted to the point of pondering whether a barber who continues to cut hair during the war, including that of the German occupiers is a collaborator. At this level the question may appear simpler than the so-called larger issues, but the philosophical issue is the same.
Jean is given the opportunity to escape to England and continue to work in some manner for France.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lee F. Bonaldi on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Certainly not one of his best. For the life of me I couldn't quite understand what drove Jean Casson to do what he did, other than vague patriotism. Adept at re-creating Pre-WWII and WWII Europe in his other novels, Furst falls flat in this one. Casson seems to wander through the book from one liason to another. The German occupation is in some instances, a minor backdrop, to Casson's search for love and/or sex. The ending was very disappointing to me. Being written by Furst, it is readable, which is why I've given it three stars. If you are new to Furst, you would be better off to start with another of his novels (Red Star, Polish Officer, Night Soldiers) to really get a true taste of his capabilities. If you are already a fan, like myself, you'll probably want to get it to round out your collection.
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