Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review: Red Gold

In Nazi-occupied Paris, the people attempt to survive any way they can--some cooperating with the Germans and others resisting. Alan Furst's work of historical fiction, Red Gold, takes place between September 18, 1941, and April 8, 1942. It follows the life of former film producer Jean-Claude Casson who is a fugitive after escaping from a Gestapo prison. 

Casson, who has taken on the identity of Jean Marin with the assistance of fake papers, lives day to day in Paris on what little money he can make. He finds opportunity in working for the French resistence through connections in his former life. The former French military wants to form an alliance with the communists who have begun to resist the German occupation since they broke their treaty with Stalin. Casson joins in the operations because he feels he has nothing else to lose.

Red Gold reads like a 1950s film noir, but it's more interesting than that. The details of Paris and the history of World War II that Furst includes makes this novel more intriguing to readers. Other than Casson, the characters seem like nothing more than silhouettes on the background of history--their only purpose is to move Casson through each day, either in a helpful manner or by creating a greater burden on his life.

While Red Gold is not on the list of great books that I've read in recent years, it is entertaining. It's a pleasant leisurely read that provides an interesting perspective of history.

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