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charlie, computer cat

December 2018

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candid-opinion, calvin

Summer reading 1: Europe in Autumn

So, I thought this might be a fun summer project - we shall see, I guess!

Book: Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson
Amount read: 36%. Yes, I am not a completist and will stop reading a book if it fails to engage me enough.
Gave up because: I got tired of waiting for some semblance of engaging plot or characterisation? Or even some sense of the setting? The author is obviously a massive admirer of Le Carre and the book feels so far like he really wants to write a Cold War spy thriller but doesn't want to do the level of historical research that would require and so has decided to hand-wave "OK, there's a Cold War like situation going on!" Unfortunately, that feels like an accurate description of the level of world building that's been done so far, and it really doesn't work for me! I mean, I too have read and enjoyed Le Carre but he doesn't describe the geo-political situation in great detail because the fundamental assumption of those books is that the reader already knows all that and understands the stakes involved. In this, I basically have no idea why Rudi decides to get involved with the transnational 70s spies or, conversely, why they pick him to recruit or what stuff people want smuggled across these borders or why. It comes across as if it's a group of people *playing* at being 70s spies - an impression reinforced by the fact that so far none of them have mobile phones.
Predictions for the rest of the book: Given that I'm not going to finish the book, here are some predictions for what might happen
1. A femme fatale shows up - probably the one from earlier in the story (Marta?)
2. Rudi discovers that the Coureurs are actually the baddies.
3. There's a mole!
4. It turns out it's all some sort of immersive video game experience. This would make the fact that Rudi seems happy to dive in to this life threatening occupation for basically no reason make more sense.
5. It turns out that everyone else is living in Utopia and this is a Special Circumstances type arrangement for the people who *really wish* they were Cold War spies.
Overall: I'm actually too uninterested to even go and read the Wikipedia summary of the plot to find out what happens, something I occasionally do for books I decide I'm not going to finish anyway.

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