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The World At Night (Night Soldiers #4)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,713 Ratings  ·  193 Reviews
Paris, 1940. The civilized, upper-class life of film producer Jean Casson is derailed by the German occupation of Paris, but Casson learns that with enough money, compromise, and connections, one need not deny oneself the pleasures of Parisian life. Somewhere inside Casson, though, is a stubborn romantic streak. When he’s offered the chance to take part in an operation of ...more
Published (first published May 14th 1996)
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Here's what you should listen to while reading this review:

If you scratch at the gold of Furst's evocative books, some of the plating inevitably flakes off... on nearly every page, alas.

And if you knock here and there to sound the depths of his imagination and the depths of insight, one finds tinny, hollow sounds here and there. Perhaps more than 'here and there'.

And so, it is not without cause...that many readers write Furst off as little more than a l
T. Scott
Sep 13, 2007 T. Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read all of Furst's WWII books. These aren't action novels. They are atmospheric and very evocative. In some ways, they are all the same book and the same main character, but I don't that isn't necessarily a criticism. This is one of the best of the bunch. The desperation, fear, and apathy that war brings with it are always prevalent, and part of what make the books so good.
I've read a few books by this author now but this one just didn't have the strength/impact that the previous novels delivered. I wasn't particularly enamoured of the main character Jean Casson, French producer and would be spy. He was far too naive and self centred for his role here. Some of his actions simply didn't correlate to his character. Also, the novel just felt incomplete.

On the positive side I love the way the author writes, the delivery of the story, the time depicted and the historic
Jul 31, 2008 Dante rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robert Ludlum Fans
I am a huge fan of Alan Furst; I've read all and enjoyed of his 1940's era books -- most of them several times. Except this one.

To me, Furst's novels have three great strengths. 1: Atmosphere -- an ability to transport the reader back to the smokey, uncertain times as WWII was getting started; 2: Great and believable characters -- people who are like those around you who happened to find themselves in compelling circumstances; and 3: Plausibility; unlike most "spy novels," Furst's do not contai
I haven’t read Furst before, and picked this up because it was on sale. Narration is good, but at some points you keep waiting for something to happen. Eventually you start to care about the characters, but the second half of the book is better than the first.

Crossposted at Booklikes.
Duffy Pratt
I always like Furst's books. To a certain extent, they are all similar. A conflicted man, with some noble underpinnings gets drawn over his head into a world of intrigue that he only vaguely understands it. This time its a minor film producer just after the occupation. Furst has a wonderful way of making spying seem simultaneously noble and mundane, even a bit tawdry. For most of the book, its not quite clear whether Casson is a spy. He seems to have mixed views on the subject. But both the Brit ...more
Mar 13, 2009 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
You can always get lost in a novel by Alan Furst. The good kind of lost where you forget about passing time, missed train stops, your plan to go to bed at a reasonable hour. In The World at Night, a French film producer finds his life, along with everyone else’s lives, upended by the German invasion of Poland and the sudden conquest of France. Jean Casson, in his early 40s, is mobilized to his astonishment and attached not unreasonably to a film crew, but France is defeated before his unit gets ...more
Jul 21, 2013 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Furst's fourth Night Soldiers' novel switches narrators to Jean Casson, a French movie producer. He is a reluctant hero who is drawn into the secret war against the Nazi occupiers of France. With 'The World at Night', Furst is able to again relate the way WWII impacted typical Europeans in ways that most fiction and nonfiction writers who focus on Europe's second world war seem to often miss or overlook.

A solid Furst novel, just not a great one. But take that with a grain of salt. Minor Furst n
Dick Reynolds
It’s May 1940 as Hitler’s forces are about to invade France. Film producer Jean-Claude Casson is in need of money and a script to make his next movie but both are in short supply. There is a pervading gloom around Paris but, as Casson observes, one must survive. Children would be born, bakers would make bread, lovers would make love, dinner parties would be given, and, in that way, France would go on being France.
The situation becomes even worse when the Germans easily defeat France and occupy
Sep 10, 2008 Jonathan rated it liked it
A swathe of sex scenes interspersed by ineffectual spying.
3.5 stars, rounded up. Not one of Furst's best, but still a brilliantly bleak and realistic portrayal of life under Nazi occupation in France during WW2. Still learned more from this novel than I ever did in a history class, and as with other books by Furst, I was still compelled to look up every detail while my interest in the time period increased exponentially. And, as always, Furst' characterizations are incredible: many times I was compelled to pause and consider, "what if that had been me? ...more
Jason Kratz
The fourth book in the "Night Soldiers" series of World War II-era spy novels by Alan Furst evokes the feeling of what I assume is close to how it felt to live in Paris in 1940 under German occupation. Furst is a master of description and detail and with this book that is evident as ever. But is the book good? Can description and feeling be enough to carry a novel?

Set almost exclusively in Paris in 1940, in the time leading up to, and during, German occupation the book tells the story of French
Janette Fleming
Mar 01, 2012 Janette Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Paris, 1940. The civilized, upper-class life of film producer Jean Casson is derailed by the German occupation of Paris, but Casson learns that with enough money, compromise, and connections, one need not deny oneself the pleasures of Parisian life. Somewhere inside Casson, though, is a stubborn romantic streak. When he’s offered the chance to take part in an operation of the British secret service, this idealism gives him the courage to say yes. A simple mission, but it goes wrong, and
Kenyon Harbison
Jun 27, 2011 Kenyon Harbison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is about the tribulations of a French film producer, Jean Casson, during the German occupation of Paris. It is a "spy novel" in the loose sense of the term, as are all of Alan Furst's novels that I have read so far. This is not the silly Robert Ludlum type of spy novel, in other words. You truly can FEEL Paris during the occupation. Where a Ludlum or (these days) a Patterson gives you a clunky, dropped-in sentence of superficial "color," which, if you have half a brain in your head, yo ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A French film producer enlists with the French army to protect France. After the Nazis defeat the French, he returns to France and tries to rebuild his life under occupation.

One scene raised this book from a good to a great read: the protagonist is seated at an upscale diner, where he is conversing with a friend who may be able to find him a job. He is surrounded by wealthy people who are trying to weather the occupation and maintain their lives. He listens in on their conversations, and gets th
Alan Furst’s World War II espionage novels can sometimes read nothing like novels about spies. Instead they’ll tell of a postcard from a lost friend, signed with an impersonal, intimate X. They’ll contemplate the slow rolling of cigarettes at a Paris café, an untapped telephone under the bar, and former lovers pretending a kiss in order to escape unwanted attention. Jean-Claude Casson, hero of "The World at Night," is no James Bond, so when he is unlucky, we feel it sharply; when he loses, we lo ...more
The historian in me loves the World War II mysteries by Alan Furst. He is a master of the dark and brooding atmosphere pervading Europe as the Nazis advance. The main character of this mystery is a French film producer named Jean Casson. Casson is a divorced member of the creative class in Paris, living a hedonistic life without much direction. When the Occupation happens, everything changes and everyone must make adjustments and choices. Casson is recruited by British intelligence on a mission ...more
V.R. Barkowski
In Nazi occupied Paris, film producer Jean Casson is drawn into the Resistance and reconnects with his lost love, Citrine. THE WORLD AT NIGHT is a well-written, atmospheric novel, but I never connected with the protagonist. Since I have an affinity for flawed, conflicted characters, and Jean is nothing if not flawed and conflicted, I'm surprised the book didn't work for me on this level. Wish I could be more specific. Possibly because I’m writing about this period myself, I was distracted by the ...more
Jason Miller
Mar 27, 2015 Jason Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slow start, classic Furst finish.
Jan 20, 2016 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars. Furst's fourth (sorry, couldn't resist that one), and still at the top of his game. The book in set in Paris in 1940-41, and it opens with the German army overrunning France. TWAN differs from Furst's earlier work in several important ways, the major one being that it focuses as much on Paris and the jaded, here-we-go-again, weary outlook of Parisians in wartime as it does on the protagonist, Jean Casson, an indie film producer. Casson is the classic Furst hero, an everym ...more
In the Paris of 1940, Jean Casson is a French motion-picture producer with a relatively prosperous life. He has made some decent films, he has work coming in, he is well-liked by the ladies of the city, and he has a steady circle of upper middle class friends. When the Nazis invade Belgium, it is, of course, the talk of the entire nation, but the French are confident that, having been victorious over Germany in 1918, they will blacken Hitler's eye if he pivots toward France.

The sheer speed and e
Gary Letham
Jean Casson, film producer & lover of many women, is about to become a spy whether he likes it or not. This is the fourth of the "Night Soldiers" novels, and the first to feature Jean-Claude Casson. Recalled to the French Army as the Germans invade the low countries, his war is short. Finds his way back to Paris and tries to continue his film production career against the growing background of shortages, the black market and the true meaning of collaboration. Casson finds himself between two ...more
Joan Cobb
May 22, 2014 Joan Cobb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again Furst brings us into World War II and the lives of persons trying to live through another brutal European war. The setting is Paris just at the German invasion. Furst's novels are considered "spy" novels, but the stories to me are not so much about the spying, but more about the choices ordinary citizens made and with what result. In 1939-40 Paris Furst shares with the reader the Parisians feeling that they might be able to just carry on. Soon the German forces make trying to be norma ...more
Joshua Earman
This book is not a typical spy novel because the story follows a French film director who is trying to find his place in Nazi occupied Paris. He has little ambition to resist the aggressors and watches friends benefit through accommodating with the enemy but is given an opportunity to help with the resistance. I appreciated the descriptions of life with ration books, curfews, and the dread of not knowing what the future holds.

The story included vivid secondary characters flitting in and out of
Jeffrey Cavanaugh

The fourth installment of Alan Furst's 'Night Soldiers' series is, like the first three, a deep dive into a certain time and place that captures one with such grim and gritty realism that it is difficult to breakaway from the novel in order to deal with life outside the book. Yet, the realism is not created out of overly dense prose that buries you in detail. Instead, the realism is composed more like a painting - a description here, a few lines of dialogue there that, like a pointalist landscap
Aug 24, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is this a masterpiece of literature? Hell no. Could I put it down for a second? Not even remotely. Basically a novel featuring almost everything I love in a noir story. Though the female characters were paper thin I was still incredibly sucked into the whole affair. Goodreads lists this as Book 4, thats not the case at all, at least narratively. This is simply the fourth book on Occupied Paris the author has written, it is wholly original (although he did later write a sequel to it.)
Barksdale Penick
This is such a good book, if you like espionage set in World War II. At the end, there is a list of historical sources relied on by Furst, which I would like to delve into, as his books seem so well informed. He does a particularly strong presentation of the Soviet underground, and how they operated. This book is set in Paris, with a former film producer on the run from the Germans. Our hero has adventures and love, failures and scares. It is really well put together.
Jul 18, 2015 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a spy novel about WWII and this book by Alan Furst seemed like a good choice. It was interesting in that it depicted the German occupation of France, and how the French coped during the occupation. In this book, a film producer's small act of espionage against the Germans goes wrong He is subsequently forced into working for the Germans but...well I won't give away the story. I thought the first part dragged--I wasn't interested in the main character's many amorous affairs, and ...more
Mar 01, 2015 C.W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With spare, elegant prose that never descends into platitudes or maudlin sentimentality, Alan Furst depicts Paris under siege not only from without, but also from within.

Jean Casson, the main character, is a modestly successful filmmaker and quintessential Frenchman who finds himself navigating a labyrinthine tangle of misalliances as the Nazis overtake his city. Trying to remain neutral and retain business dealings as well as some of his habitual pleasures, as so many around him are doing desp
Pat Haber
Jan 25, 2015 Pat Haber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We are almost done listening to this book and I want to write the review now while it's all clear in my mind.
I am just discovering this author, and I really like him.
The book takes place early in the German occupation of France in 1941, and the main character is Jean Claude Casson, a successful French producer of gangster films. The story is very good, but the best part for me is the way the author paints a scene, be it a conversation, or a description of a cafe. He just nails the time period, t
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Alan Furst is widely recognized as the current master of the historical spy novel. Born in New York, he has lived for long periods in France, especially Paris. He now lives on Long Island.

Night Soldiers novels
* Night Soldiers (1988)
* Dark Star (1991)
* The Polish Officer (1995)
* The World at Night (1996)
* Red Gold (1999)
* Kingdom of Shadows (2000)
* Blood of Victory (2003)
* Dark Voyage (2004)
* The F
More about Alan Furst...

Other Books in the Series

Night Soldiers (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Night Soldiers (Night Soldiers, #1)
  • Dark Star (Night Soldiers, #2)
  • The Polish Officer (Night Soldiers, #3)
  • Red Gold (Night Soldiers, #5)
  • Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers, #6)
  • Blood of Victory (Night Soldiers, #7)
  • Dark Voyage (Night Soldiers, #8)
  • The Foreign Correspondent (Night Soldiers, #9)
  • The Spies of Warsaw (Night Soldiers, #10)
  • Spies of the Balkans (Night Soldiers, #11)

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