Personal Tour: Alan Furst’s Paris
Espionage writer Alan Furst shares the Paris locales that have inspired his novels.
Alan Furst is unrivalled as the writer of espionage novels set during the World War II era. And it couldn’t be a book by Alan Furst unless part of it were set in Paris. Furst’s beautifully observed and meticulously researched novels, 10 so far in the series, are carried by their heroes—invariably ordinary men called to extraordinary deeds in an awful time. The books range across Europe, following Furst’s heroes across treacherous landscapes from the Baltic to Barcelona to Bessarabia, but they always return to Paris, where Furst lived, all told, for about a decade. Indeed, he describes his novels as “a series with different characters,” in which Paris is the fulcrum.
“Paris is the talisman, the height of European culture,” exclaims Furst, “which means it is a kind of paradise of the mind.” Here, writer John McLaughlin talks to Furst about the 1930s Paris he fell in love with and still cherishes.