Saturday, November 26, 2016
Monday, November 21, 2016
|The Conrad-Caldwell Mansion|
A 2nd-Great Grandfather of mine was a principal partner in a construction company/stone masonry in late 19th Century Louisville. Though the family lived in the Cherokee Park area of the city, the firm was among builders who worked on many of the many mansions constructed in Louisville in the later decades of the 1800's. So, late in the afternoon of our arrival, we took a long walk the the St. James Court-Belgravia Historic District to give our niece a flavor of the old city. She is only 12 but I'm sure the images will be alive in her memory. We stayed at the Seelbach Hotel to provide some additional old Louisville context for her adventure.
Friday, November 18, 2016
The little girl is our niece. Half of her ancestry comes from Poland; someday, no doubt, she will visit. But she also has "Kentucky Roots", so the theme of the extended weekend was to give her a flavor for the life and times of her American Cousins.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
The writing is superb, as usual for the his author. I loved the satiric feeling of the scenes with the police, his old bosses at the Office, his ex-wife. The plot is complex, like "The Night Manager" and set in the post-Soviet era of the 1990's when the Russians were waging campaigns of ethnic cleansing against groups in the Caucasus. One interesting "prop" used was a hiding place for Tim: a "priest hole" concealed in a tower of the medieval church on his estate.
I "google-researched" the Caucasian Mountain countries of the Russian Federation; beautiful, brutal places with ancient stone towers and evocative landscapes.
The young woman, Emma, the love interest was the weakest link. Like the heroine in "The Night Manager": mystically beautiful but otherwise shallow and unworthy of having so much of the action in the novel directed at trying to "save" her. Meanwhile, this author able to create such deep and compelling characters out of "little grey middle-aged men" with bureaucratic jobs in spy agencies like Tim and like George Smiley (who does not appear in this novel).
Eventually, given enough time, I suppose I will read all the this author's fictional works. He is a wonderful writer who chose to work on espionage and crime thrillers.