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Olen Steinhauer, Liberation Movements (2006) aka The Istanbul Variations

09 Mar

bookcoverus.jpgThis novel almost makes it into my best reads of 2007, but not quite. I had a problem accepting one central issue in the plot, the parapsychological abilities of a key character. Nonetheless I will be looking out for other novels by Steinhauer as his evocation of a grey moral universe in the post-communist eastern bloc really is commendable.

Steinhauer participates in an interesting blog with three other writers, The Contemporary Nomad; in that entry he discusses the reasons for the alternate title in the UK. The flavour of Liberation Movements is well captured in this review by L. J. Hurst:

What is the connection between a student attempting to flee Czechoslovakia in the wake of the crushed Prague Spring of 1968, and an airliner exploding in the air between Armenia and Turkey seven years later? Olen Steinhauer’s ISTANBUL VARIATIONS answers that question and many others, though only after recording many apparent separate and disparate incidents. In some ways, given his unusual name, Olen Steinhauer’s publishers might do better to change his biography – he lives in Hungary, but he is a transplanted American. THE ISTANBUL VARIATIONS is so amoral, and so steeped in the attitudes of the police of the communist eastern block, that readers might think they were reading books written there too, if the back blurb did not give the game away…

Thanks to Surry Hills Library for spotting another interesting writer.

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Posted by on March 9, 2007 in Cultural and other, Reading, Surry Hills

 

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