Alan Furst, a dynamic, energetic, talkative man, grapples for an explanation of his popularity abroad.
How d s he do it, and where do the stories come from? They include a 1963 letter from his grandfather, Max Stockman, which urged Furst to become a teacher and 'write as a sideline' in his spare time. Sag Harbor does boast an impressive literary history.
", He knew very little about World War II when he started out, he admits. Born in Manhattan, he grew up on the Upper West Side, the only child of older parents. You have to pick your words.". After our lunch, we drive a short distance to the 1890 house he shares with Karen, and he shows us the expansive English garden where he gets much of his physical exercise when he is not writing on an IBM Selectric typewriter in a converted garage. Furst attended Horace Mann high school "on borrowed money." ", His early novels (1976–1983) achieved limited success. He is referring to Ann Godoff, senior editor, editor-in-chief and CEO at Random House, who began publishing Furst with The Polish Officer (1995), followed by The World at Night (1996), Red Gold (1999) and now Kingdom of Shadows. "I just wanted to write, but I didn't have anything to write about, so in the beginning, I wrote entertainments, mainly murder mysteries.". In 2011, the Tulsa Library Trust in Tulsa, Oklahoma selected Furst to receive its Helmerich Award, a literary prize given annually to honor a distinguished author's body of work.
Karen remembers: "I sent my husband to Russia, and he never came back. "The French loved her and loved what she did, and she moved right into their circles." Furst had bounced around--Atheneum, Doubleday, Delacorte--for his earliest writing ventures, thrillers that also bounced around in locales and about which Furst d s not speak these days (they are out of print). Hoda Kotb Offers Inspiration, Wisdom, and Hope, Ina Garten's Latest Cozy and Delicious Recipes, Discover the Prologue to Jodi Picoult's Poignant New Novel, Audiobooks Read By Your Favorite Celebrities. ", "I started writing in my 20s," Furst says, ignoring the food that has just arrived, so intent is he on telling his story. Secondary characters who appear in more than one Furst novel include: Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Shadowy World of Spies, Created in a Secluded Studio", "Spy novelist Alan Furst chosen for 2011 Helmerich Award", "The Evening Class: FRAMELINE36: REVEALING MR. MAUGHAM (2012)—The Evening Class Interview With Michael House", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alan_Furst&oldid=983625467, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Renate Braun, Comintern foreign specialist (, Colonel Anton Vyborg, Polish military intelligence (, Max de Lyon, spy and owner of Le Cygne night club (, Boris Balki, Russian emigre bartender in Paris (, Jean Casson, a film producer and protagonist of, British intelligence operatives in Europe (mainly Paris), such as, Momo Tsipler & his Wienerwald Companions, a night-club act (, Brasserie Heininger, Paris restaurant (every book; inspired by the real-life Bistro Bofinger, This page was last edited on 15 October 2020, at 08:50.
" Awarded a Fulbright teaching fellowship in 1969, Furst moved to Sommières, France, outside of Montpellier, and taught at the University of Montpellier. He is especially noted for his successful evocations of Eastern European peoples and places during the period from 1933 to 1944. On both sides of the ocean, critics and readers praise Furst's ability to recreate the mood and atmosphere of Paris and particularly Eastern Europe during World War II. Esquire didn't like the idea at first, but at the last moment gave Furst the go-ahead and an advance. Strolling down Main Street in Sag Harbor, N.Y., PW catches nary a glimpse of intrigue. "If you're a writer, you're always working. The Paradise has gone through many incarnations since it was a sandwich shop in Steinbeck's day. They gave their lives, they literally gave them, these heroes. My wife says I'm much happier when I'm not a regular on a TV show. Fine, I thought, I'll do it myself. One item, held in the Ransom collection, includes the manuscript for "One Smart Cookie" (with Debbi Fields, 1987), a commissioned biography of the owner of the Mrs. Fields Cookies company.. He later lived for many years in Paris, a city that he calls "the heart of civilisation" which figures significantly in all his novels. They sold the island cottage and most of their belongings. Author Alan Furst at his home in Sag Harbor, New York on May 30, 2012. President Reagan had dubbed the U.S.S.R. "the evil empire." I write whole scenes of dialogue and I really don't know how I do it. Gordon M. Grant. The collection also includes early articles on a wide variety of topics, published in many magazines for which no common denominator can be found, including Architectural Digest, Elle, Esquire, 50 Plus, International Herald Tribune, Islands, New Choices, New York, The New York Times, Pursuits, Salon, and Seattle Weekly. But with Night Soldiers, Furst found his period, his voice and a new publisher. It spooks me sometimes. Shadowing this elegant world is the cloud of impending war. His English publishers include Bodley Head, Methuen, HarperCollins and now Orion, where Malcolm Edwards is his editor. Pragmatic PW suggests that his novels are probably the product in equal parts of research and imagination, and Furst shrugs. Since Alan Furst started writing historical spy novels not much more than a decade ago, he has sold over a million copies of them, and they've been translated into 18 languages. People kept looking up at the sky, expecting American rockets, and were terrified of their own authorities. As a Jew, he was required to serve 20 years. Alan Furst, widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel, is the author of A Hero of France, Midnight in Europe, Mission to Paris, and many other bestsellers. They didn't like to talk about it, "but they told me things, and the way they spoke, who they were, told me even more.". Furst remembers Macauley as a magnificent editor and great friend. Alan Furst, widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel, is the author of A Hero of France, Midnight in Europe, Mission to Paris, and many other bestsellers. "But," he is quick to point out with a laugh, "I also did all the author jacket-copy jobs like driving a cab, picking fruit, working in a factory and writing freelance copy for advertisers." "I guess it's something like that," he agrees. America and the Upper West Side of New York all fell away and Furst discovered he was at home in a fearful land. John Steinbeck and Nelson Algren lived here a century later, and these days, many contemporary writers and editors make their summer home here. In my research, I've uncovered truly terrible documentations of cruelty and torture, but I leave that offstage. Then it was on to Oberlin College, where he majored in English, graduating in 1962.
I'm a born historical novelist. Please try again later. Editor's Picks: Science Fiction & Fantasy. A new man did." In Paris, they found an apartment in the Marais on the Right Bank. While all his historical espionage novels are loosely connected (protagonists in one book might appear as minor characters in another), only The World at Night and Red Gold share a common plot.
Reviewers often compare him to Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, Somerset Maugham and John le Carré, Furst explains that he avoids sensationalism. When they returned, they moved to Seattle, then to Bainbridge Island, Wash. Life on the island centered around writing, an Irish wolfhound and Karen's growing reputation as an ornamental horticulturist.
Walt Whitman walked these streets in the great whaling days. Furst was most struck by the faces of the people he saw on the streets. "I work all day, every day," Furst explains. Houghton also published his next novel, Dark Star, edited by Joseph Kanon, whom Furst also remembers with affection. ", He is moved by the people he writes about: "You have to realize that there were people of great evil in that time, but there were also real heroes. Morning is for writing and afternoons are for research.". Married in 1969 and awarded a Fulbrightaround the same time, Furst and his wife, Karen, set off for the south of France, where they lived for a year. He tells us that he was amazed on a recent trip to London when he discovered that one bookstore after another displayed all his novels in their windows.
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