Winton Pawprints 

Winton (c.1995-2012) was our beloved shop cat and still has the last word every month in her regular column.

March 2017

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, February 22, 2017
It’s a funny thing working in a bookshop—you can read and read, but there’s always something new, or ancient, you haven’t got to yet. Like when you run your eyes along some other reader’s bookshelves (as readers always do) and, despite the fact that you rarely have your head out of a book, you haven’t read an eighth of what’s thereon. The list just grows and grows, the pile beside the bed gets ever bigger—and nine lives is not enough! Even eternity, with its forever growing front list, wouldn’t be. Not that I’m complaining—although I do occasionally hope some benign vampire from an Anne Rice novel will bestow the dark gift upon me so I can attempt to keep up. Anyway, I can’t remember what sent me in my current direction—perhaps a reference to Joseph Kanon in a Saturday paper’s review, but, like Sonia Lee, the Gleaner’s resident reading Granny who is on a Tana French bender this month, I am now on a Joseph Kanon binge—starting with his award winning debut novel, Los Alamos. To quote his current editor, Peter Borland: Here’s the thing about Joe’s books. They are all set in roughly the same time period—the years just after the end of World War II—but in different parts of the world: Los Alamos; Washington, DC; Hollywood; Venice; Istanbul; Berlin. Kanon’s novels provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of the West at a precarious historical moment when old alliances are coming apart, the Cold War is getting downright frosty, and moral compromise is the rule of the day. Each of Joe’s books is unique and stands on its own, but when you step back and take them all in together, the enormity of what he has accomplished is revealed: here is the story of the birth of the post-war world happening. As the Trumpster returns to a protectionist posture and reneges on all the promises made in the American ‘we’re the only ones you can trust with the atom’ ascendancy, what better time to look back on the moral questions posed on ‘The Hill’—would the world be different if the US had openly shared the bomb technology with its so-called ally the USSR? Like all good books, Los Alamos just makes ya wonder. I can’t wait to get to The Prodigal Spy, The Good German, Alibi, Stardust, Istanbul Passage and Leaving Berlin. And for those whose shelves already have Kanon in pride of place, the good news is there’s a new one due in June 2017—Defectors—this time it’s Moscow, 1961, a notorious US defector to the USSR is about to publish his memoirs…    Winton

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