Alibi: A Novel
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Alibi: A Novel

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  753 ratings  ·  111 reviews
From the bestselling author of Los Alamos and The Good German comes a riveting tale of love, revenge and murder set in postwar Venice

It is 1946, and a stunned Europe is beginning its slow recovery from the ravages of World War II. Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published May 28th 2005)
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Madonna Valentine
This is a well written book that took me a bit of time to engage with as the plot moves quite slowly at the start. The action takes place in Venice in 1946 and events are narrated by the main character, Adam Miller, who has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother. He falls under the spell of Claudia, a young Jewish woman. Alibi explores issues of ethics and morality in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Kanon is one of my favourite writers and this book did not disappoint. I did find the main ch...more
Anything World War II fascinates me to pieces, and the premise of this novel was no exception. Only problem: the premise was about the only exciting thing about it. At times, I was just forcing myself to get through it. But it wasn't all bad. The use of metaphors (especially with the canals) to represent Venice during the German occupation was very engaging. It is important to be educated in how each country handled the occupation and the war very differently, each displaying unique adaptation a...more
I recalled reading this book a few years ago. It is a mystery occuring in post-war Venice. Kanon is a gifted writer, who has written this, a compelling, suspenseful mystery along with other notable novels, including the gripping historical, The Good German.
I did really like it, although by the end I was getting tired and a little confused.
Adam Miller, newly discharged from the army in Germany just after WWII, goes to Venice to stay with his expatriate widowed mother. He quickly becomes involved with a beautiful Italian Jewish prison camp survivor, and also with his mother's boyfriend, a native Venetian and old friend of hers. Complications ensue when it turns out that his girlfriend and his mother's boyfriend had a connection during the war.
Much more than a mystery, we get losses here in many forms, the heavy hand of history, the endlessness of violence once it is unleashed; we get the mutations of violence, deep irony, the pain of a good man who causes harm and the tortuous course of his effort to right his wrong as far as possible. We see the ease with which a whole culture aligns itself with those in power without regard to ideology or decency. These themes are tributaries to a broad theme that suggests moral decency is merely a...more
I thought I would read a murder mystery as a break from more serious stuff but boy, was I surprised! This book is set in Venice right at the end of World War II, and the murder that occurs is not a mystery at all. The novel is more a psychological thriller. We SEE the murder happen, KNOW who did it, we know the motivation, we see their alibi in place, we even sympathize with the murderers. But what is the aftereffect of the murder on them as they try to figure out if the victim deserved to be mu...more
Dec 23, 2007 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like mysteries or moral cunundrums
The premise of this book is that once you do something morally questionable (even if you have a good reason), it's a downward spiral from there. I would say that the other lesson to be learned form this book is not to let someone talk you into something until you know all the facts.

In this book, an American (recently demobilized form the army after WW II) has come to Venice to visit his mother and think about his next step. He gets invovled with a woman whose family was killed in the war and she...more
I do find Kanon a stupendous writer, who excels at that normally dire "subgenre" the "literary thriller".

Another murder "mystery" set in Europe in the years after World War Two, although this one follows the well trodden road of having the murder outlined, and the main plot following the implications of this on the protagonists, and whether they escape the investigation.

Kanon is superb again at establishing the sense of place. The Venetian setting is a wonderful backdrop, that beautiful city t...more
Sharon Kreps
I got into this book very fast. Loved the description of post war Venice and the people who returned to resume their "normal" lives. The plot and love story got on and I kept reading, intrigued. At some point it turned into pages of conversation that were harder to follow and care about. But I read to the end wanting to see how it resolved. I guess it didn't really. Bleah.
Overall, it was an interesting, suspenseful read. The description of place and people that the author offered were quite good, the historical perspective added interest for me , particularly from an aspect I had not previously considered, that of people whose participation was more peripheral. Many of them seemed more like outside observers, content to party and socialize while the serious business of war raged in places far removed. Throw in the love story, and a good murder mystery, and it mad...more
This is a great book by the author of The Good German. At times I didn't like the book but only because I didn't like what was happening. In some ways it reminds me of Theodore Drieser's An American Tragedy, really great book in my opinion!
I really liked Joseph Kanons The Good German, and Los Alamos so I decided I'd better read this one too.

The main theme is apathy, and it's rampant in today's society just as it was 65 years ago. Joseph Kanon did a great job of illustrating this in the book.

This books starts off rather slow, but just stick with it until page 20-25 and it picks up. This book is set in Venice, Italy directly after the close of WW2. While Venice was never actually attacked, the city still had many victims of the Germ...more
I just discovered Joseph Kanon's new book, Istanbul Passage, so now I'm reading his earlier books as well. Alibi did not disappoint. I adore books where the suspense comes from the moral dilemma of the protagonist, so I figured this would be up my alley. Or canal, as it's set in post-WW II Venice. But in Kanon's work there's never just one dilemma to worry about--every character has a secret.
American Adam Miller has just left the army after being an investigator of war criminals in Germany. Hi...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Where some authors establish the foundations of a series by character, environment, period, and then construct fresh plots around them, Joseph Kanon has the remarkable skill to make each novel new and unique. Los Alamos takes the reader to New Mexico, scene of the Manhattan Project. The Prodigal Spy is espionage in McCarthyite America and Iron Curtain Prague. The Good German recreates occupied Berlin at the end of World War II. Alibi also reaches back to 1946 and the ambiguity and unease of the...more
In hindsight, people tend to think of Italians as protecting "their Jews" during the Holocaust, and to an extent, this is true, at least when compared to Europeans in other countries. ALIBI, though, delineates an anti-Semitic streak within a stratum of Venetians, even just after WWII, when all the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis were reveals to the world at large.

It's 1946, and a U.S. soldier, Adam Miller, comes to Venice to visit his widowed mother. However, when he falls for Claudia, an Itali...more
Dick Gullickson
4.7. First, a confession. I listened to “The Alibi” as a book on tape (actually CD). Audiobooks have progressed from simple low key recitations to well acted portrayals. The Alibi benefited from a great read/actor. This is a well crafted and gripping book about Adam Miller returning to Venice in 1946 to visit his widowed mother after serving in Germany in WWII. He meets Claudia, a Jewish survivor of fascist Italy, who coped by doing what was necessary. The Alibi is truly a roller coaster of emot...more
Oct 11, 2007 Cecilia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thriller readers
Shelves: favorites
I read this one while in Venice, so it was a bit of a plus for me, I must say, since this novel is all about the people and places in Venice. It is, though, a solid thriller that is only enhanced by the setting. This one, like Kanon’s other thrillers, not only has the usual “thrills,” but also its fair share of political drama, which adds to the intrigue. Adam, the main character of this story, set in the “sinking” city after WWII, falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman who might or might no...more
Jim Lewis
An engaging depiction of post World War II Venice and a believable account of the moral compromises Venetians made during the war. The plot does not quite support the length of the story, however, and the resolution is not entirely satisfying. Enjoyed it enough to finish it, but this was not his best.
A really fast mover with much action and suspense. The main protagonist is just getting out of the army, investigating and searching for war criminals at the end of WWII. He comes to Venice where his mother is now staying and finds out that she plans to marry a Venetian aristocrat from a very old family. Then he is given reason to believe that the old aristocrat may not be the fine person he is thought of as being. Things start to really move. My only real disappointment with the book is the way...more
This book did not hit the mark. There was a lack of coherent plot focus. Was the point about the current love interest of the main characters mother, was it the past war crimes of the Italian doctor, or was it the narrators own personal story. This multiple foci made the story to uneven. Made the details about Venice a distraction rather than a resource. I much preferred Los Alamos by the same author.
Overall this was a pretty good story, a little long and few too many twists in it just made it difficult. Plus I did not like the ending, maybe it had to end that way but I think it was a bit blunt and just not right. This may also be based in the complex choices that each of the characters have to make and the struggle with morality that ensues.

Adam Miller, newly discharged from the army in Germany just after WWII, goes to Venice to stay with his expatriate widowed mother. He quickly becomes in...more
I enjoyed the book, but towards the end of the book it was drawn out more than I would have preferred. The saving grace was the storyline, at times depicting the harsh realities of the persecution of the Jews as well as the ironic truths that unfold for our central characters. I'd definitely recommend this book to others to read.
This excellent book takes place in Venice right after WWII. The main characters are a young American man, Adam, Who has just left the army in Germany and has come to visit his widowed mother, and a young Jewish girl, Claudia, who he meets at a party. Adam's mother, living in Venice, has been dating a Venetian doctor, Gianni, who she knew when she lived in Venice as a young woman before the war. This is a Venice scarred by the war. Although Venice wasn't bombed, it was occupied by the Nazis and m...more
Oct 02, 2008 Pa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in suspense and/or post WWII high society
This story takes place in Venice, Italy just after WWII. It involves the interrelationships among Venetian high society, an American exGI and his mother, a Jewish survivor and a Venetian doctor from an illustrious family who betrayed her father to the Germans and who is now engaged to marry the GI's wealthy mother. The GI and the Jewess become an item and later become involved in a murder. The remainder of the story hinges on their development of an alibi and the moral dilemma they face when an...more
I finished reading this book at 1:30 this morning. It is one of those books that you don't want to put down. It starts out a little slow but then it grabs you and won't let go.

The novel takes place in Venice in 1946. Adam meets Claudia, a young Jewish woman who has been deeply scarred by her experiences during the war. His life spirals out of control from that point on as he discovers the secrets hidden just below the surface of the beautiful face Venice shows to the world.

If you like historical...more
Diane W.
Although the book was intriguing and I loved the setting, the characters were not redeemable in any way. The mystery in some of a reverse style starts out innocently enough, with a son Adam and his mother living in recent post-World War II Venice, Italy. Adam meets a beautiful Jew who was in the concentration camp. And his mom is engaged to a popular doctor in town. But an unfortunate event occurs, and alibis must be established. I enjoyed the conversations Adam had with other characters in the...more
Nathan James
Alibi is by Joseph Kanon, the writer of The Good German - a new movie out with Tobey and George in it. It takes place in Venice right after the war and involves former Nazi informants meeting armistice-freed concentration camp victims meeting each other after the war. There's murder and a naive American lieutenant who tries to vindicate the prisoner's suffering but really just makes a huge mess of things. It was a decent page turner; I've often wondered how Europe recovered after the camps were...more
The first-person narrator, Adam Miller, at first seems a Jamesian character, the innocent American who understands very little about the Old World and consequently bases his actions on misunderstandings of people and European/Italian society. As the plot becomes increasingly complex and unbelievable, Adam's actions seem to be justified while those of his wife, a Jewish survivor of Nazi atrocities, were portrayed as more questionable. Every character in the novel is morally tainted, but still Ada...more
Kevin Scott
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I just finished this book for my book club. It was an historical fiction piece. I don't care for a backwards mystery, where the murder happens in the beginning, the murderer is revealed, and then whether or not they get caught is the main subject of the novel. While an additonal mystery is threaded throughout the novel, it is not as compelling as it needs to be sustain a popular fiction type of pace. I was really caught up with the story in the beginnong, for about the first 100-200 pages, but t...more
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