Sunday, June 03, 2007

Polar Star

Ever since I finished GORKY PARK I’ve been wanting to read POLAR STAR, Martin Cruz Smith’s next Arkady Renko story. I put it off because I was determined to plow through the “bestselling” thriller I had set myself to read next. Problem was, I hate the thriller so much I’ve made little progress in a month. Yesterday I finally caved and picked up POLAR STAR.

GORKY PARK was such a wonderful reading experience I worried I might be disappointed, but of course I’m not. Yes, it’s a very different story in a very different setting. Yes Arkady is different, impacted by the horrors set in motion by the events of Gorky Park. But I’m still having a hard time putting it down (not a good thing when the galleys for the paperback WHEN GODS DIE are due Wednesday), and even when I’m not reading it I find the characters and story drifting through my mind.

For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of Arkady’s character is that as much as he hates totalitarianism and bureaucracy and coercion, he genuinely believes in all that is good and noble about the pure communist philosophy. This came out in Gorky Park, and now it’s coming out again in Polar Star, which is set in 1989 as Russia lurches towards the greed and corrupt materialism of capitalism and the Western world. It’ll be fascinating to see how this develops in future books. I already have HAVANA BAY and WOLVES EAT DOGS sitting here waiting for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen in love with an author’s writing like this. Bliss.


Charles Gramlich said...

I have this one but haven't gotten to it yet. I always seem to be last on my block. I'm reading a pretty good historical fiction novel set in Egypt right now, called "Men of Bronze" by Scott Oden.

Steve Malley said...

Talk about hand-selling! How can I read that post and *not* pick up at least one of those books?!