So, I have my recreational reading picked out for the upcoming holidays and lockdown number three lasting until January 18 in Austria.

I’ve never read a John le Carré novel. Given the praise awarded him in his New York Times obituary earlier this month it seems I have clearly missed something: [His] exquisitely nuanced, intricately plotted Cold War thrillers elevated the spy novel to high art by presenting both Western and Soviet spies as morally compromised cogs in a rotten system full of treachery, betrayal and personal tragedy. Reason enough to put The Spy Who Came in From the Cold on the list.

Following that I am going to dive into the German translation of Antonio Scurati’s novel about Mussolini, M. il figlio del secolo (M. The Son of the Century). It topped the Italian bestseller list for weeks after its release in 2018 and the German version was published early this year. Apparently, Scurati obscures the line between fact and fiction breaking up the narrative with excerpts from historical documents – police reports, letter, newspaper articles etc.

In any case the German version is an 829 page doorstop so it should keep me busy well into the new year. Also, it is part one of a planned trilogy. Part two was released in September, M. L’uomo della provvidenza (M. A Man of Destiny/Providence? – my rough translation, not the official English title) and the German translation should be out in 2021.

What is on your holiday reading list? Leave a comment.

One thought on “Holiday reading

  1. ‘the spy who came in from the cold’ is a masterpiece. ‘Smiley’s people’ (another le carré) is good too.

    My recommendation, if you have yet to read it, is ‘Friday Night Lights’. It breakdowns the boom & bust of 1970/80s Texas oil industry and it’s impact on the wider society…told via the compelling narrative of Texas High School football…with acute observations about structural racial inequalities and the impact of ‘stardome’ on young people. Well worth reading.

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