Monday, November 24, 2008

Zoo Station

Author: David Downing
Originally Published: 2007
Length: 293 pages
Personal Enjoyment Rating: 3/5
Amazon Rating: 4/5 (14 reviews)

This pre-WWII spy thriller was actually more interesting than thrilling. John Russell is a British journalist living in Germany, determined to stay to be near his 11-year-old son and his actress girlfriend, despite the inevitable war looming. The Soviets have asked him to write a series of articles for them, which he decides to do for the money. This arrangement becomes more involved and risky than Russell bargained for, and he also gets involved in trying to save a Jewish family that faces many obstacles in leaving Germany.
While I didn't really feel a whole lot of suspense in reading this book, I liked it from a historical perspective. I was able to see what different types of people might have experienced in Germany in the days leading to the war: a British journalist frustrated by limits on what he can write about; an actress who must play parts in Nazi-influenced plays and movies,;an 11-year-old boy subject to government socialization through school and youth groups; parents faithful to the Nazi party but who possibly have a mentally-challenged son who they learn could end up the victim of Hitler's "mercy killings"; and an idealistic American journalist determined to uncover secrets of the Nazi regime.
This is not a book I would normally have picked up (although I do love the cover). I was after that "Z" for the A to Z reading challenge. It's always fun to try something new, and although I wasn't wowed by this one, I do not regret reading it, and I may go on to try some others by this author. Don't these sound good: The Moscow Option, Russian Revolution 1985, The Red Eagles?

1 comment:

  1. What a great description. I love anything written about that time period, so I'll be on the lookout for this book. Nicely done!