Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Man from St. Petersburg

So here's my one complaint about The Man from St. Petersburg by Ken Follett: how often to you read about some upper class woman falling madly, wildly, and passionately in love with some plebeian, only to get knocked up, and then married off to a duke or whatever within weeks, and he raises the kid as his own. And then something happens in the plot and it becomes necessary to turn this child's world upside down by revealing the truth? And then, in the end, everything works out and everyone still loves everyone else?

It's just a little cliche.

Otherwise, the book was great. In fact, even with the above-mentioned cliche, the book was great. It's a bit of a coming of age story, a bit of a spy mystery, and full of interesting characters. I suppose, technically, it's a historical fiction.

The story takes place in pre-WWI England, and paints a portrait of political intrigue, complete with a young Winston Churchill. The basic plot of the story is the negotiation of an alliance between England and Russia, but there's a subplot of the suffragette movement.

One thing I can't relate to is the amount of blind passion experienced by Lydia. Perhaps I'm not that passionate of a person. Or perhaps I have a whole lot more freedoms than women once had, and my passion can be redirected. Also, I'm not bored. What I mean is, it's not my job to sit around in fancy clothes and discuss dinner seating charts with the servants. That sounds nice for about two weeks, like a vacation, but I think I'd scream if I had to spend my life being demure. But I suppose if my life was mind-numbingly boring, a sordid romance would seem a reasonable distraction.

On the other hand, Follett did a very good job showing how Feliks descended into madness, and then what ultimately brought him out of it. In the end, even the antagonists weren't all bad.

Somehow, I really enjoyed reading the book, but I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It was just an interesting, fast-paced novel.

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