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8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Deep Into Russia
'Archangel' is the story about an English scholar receiving top secret information from an old former security guard of Stalin regarding a hidden notebook of the Russian Communist leader. The plot develops steadily in true Harris-style as is known from 'Fatherland'. It leads the main character and, of course, some shadowy figures, to the North Russian port town of...
Am 31. Juli 2001 veröffentlicht

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6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Compelling premise - very poor follow-through
The premise of this book - How would the face of modern Russia change if Stalin's attrocities were ever brought to light (through the discovery of his secret journel) - is a very compelling theme. Harris starts us on the journey down this path in a suspensefull manner that makes the book hard to put down for the first 100 pages. Past that, the plot falls apart and...
Am 21. März 1999 veröffentlicht


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6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Compelling premise - very poor follow-through, 21. März 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel: A Novel (Gebundene Ausgabe)
The premise of this book - How would the face of modern Russia change if Stalin's attrocities were ever brought to light (through the discovery of his secret journel) - is a very compelling theme. Harris starts us on the journey down this path in a suspensefull manner that makes the book hard to put down for the first 100 pages. Past that, the plot falls apart and becomes one non-sensicle farce after another. Past the first 100 pages, all character development (such that there is) stops and Harris seems to change his tone and begins to regard the reader as a teenage girl reading "The Nancy Drew Mysteries". This book has a wonderfull premise, a passing beginning, but in the end, falls well short of it's promise.
Having read other works by Robert Harris, I would have to say this: If you are a Harris fan, you will probably not be too disapointed; if you are a first time Harris reader, I would pass on this one.
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8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Deep Into Russia, 31. Juli 2001
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel (Taschenbuch)
'Archangel' is the story about an English scholar receiving top secret information from an old former security guard of Stalin regarding a hidden notebook of the Russian Communist leader. The plot develops steadily in true Harris-style as is known from 'Fatherland'. It leads the main character and, of course, some shadowy figures, to the North Russian port town of Archangel and further into the dense surrounding forests where the final enigma reveals itself ... Not intending to disclose the part taking place in the Russian woods I regard it as overdrawn, however the very end ranks among the best in literature. This book keeps you electrified from the first page to the last. It is similarly rich in its dark and obsolete atmosphere as 'Fatherland' and captures you much more than 'Enigma' which, though a highly recommendable book, too, has some dry paragraphs. Supposedly lacking the fully realistic background of 'Enigma' and the realistic prologue setting of 'Fatherland', it is this obscurity combined with the unerring thread of the narrative and a considerable load of suspense that gives 'Archangel' its own unique thrilling character.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not an episode from XFiles but the real Russia, 19. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel (Taschenbuch)
Life in Moscow "is, was, will be" brutal and harsh. Harris has got his descriptions of Russians longing for the good old Stalinist days dead on. You have to live there like I did to believe it. You think Harris' crazy, paranoid Stalinist monster living in the tundra is hard to believe? It's not any harder to believe than Russia's party history or current political situation, where Duma deputies are murdered regularly. Stalin's son is a "metaphor" that embodies (get it?) the lingering phlegm of Russia's evil past. You think Russians wouldn't rise en masse to slobber over Stalin's son? Then you've been tucked comfy under your Western bed covers reading novels too long. Harris did not have to invent much. He described the bars, prostitution, brutality, duplicity, and misery to a T. He even managed to mention that compassionless excrescence, the eXile, which exudes the stench of the worst aspects of Russian amorality and Western expat cynicism. Russian life has always been brutal, and they blame the West. The West brought them the invasions of the Swedes, the Poles, the French, the Germans, the Turks. Sad thing is the Russians managed to fight these invaders off. As a result, what they were left with was a society that was bled and brutalized -- but victorious. They may not have decent housing or food, but they do know how to identify, repell, and destroy an enemy. Harris captured this emotional reality. Read the book.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting Idea Poorly Executed, 1. September 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel: A Novel (Gebundene Ausgabe)
I, like many of the other reviewers of this book, enjoyed Harris' previous efforts. Those books have interesting plots, a descriptive style that is evocative, and strong characters. Archangel has two of the three of those elements.
I thought the basic premise of the book was intriguing. Harris does a good job of reinforcing the premise by describing the setting in very descriptive terms. I've never been to Russia, so I can't say how accurate his descriptions are. But, I can say that he gave me a powerful image of his version of Russia.
Where the book falls short is in its lack of characterization. None of the characters rise above the level of a stereotype. The Russian men are portrayed as either drunks or schemers. The reporter is depicted as an amoral, shallow opportunist. But the worst depiction is reserved for the object of the search in the book, who primarily speaks in old Communist Party speeches. While I understood that Harris was trying to portray the effects of brainwashing on this character, it instead came across as confusion as to how to handle him on the author's part.
Archangel feels like a good first draft that was rushed into print in order to meet a contract deadline. The elements are there for a great story. But, it needs some more work before it can match the level of Harris' other books.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Turgid, Contrived and Boiring, 25. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel (Taschenbuch)
Having enjoyed Mr.Harris's imaginative and finely-observed "Fatherland" I came to this present work with high expectations (indeed I reserved it for light holiday reading in a remote part of Thailand). It was a major disappointment to find that this new novel is turgid and contrived. It doesn't help that it is burdened with a principal character (one hesitates to say "hero") who is that most hackneyed cliché of the modern thriller, in print or on celluloid, the dishevelled and hard-drinking womaniser. The writer's familiarity with modern Moscow is milked for every incidental detail possible and the linkages back to late Stalinist time are laboured to say the least. By the hundredth page I gave up in sheer boredom, totally uninterested in the further plot development or in the outcome. Can this be the same novel I read such rave reviews of? Thank Heavens I had other reading material with me on my holiday!
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen what happened to Robert Harris?, 12. Februar 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel (Taschenbuch)
I thoroughly enjoyed Harris' previous books, which seemed well-written (though occasionally over-written) and engrossing. I was excited to get hold of this...but wow! what a disappointment! This book was a terrible dud--hard to get into, full of nothing but laughable stereotypes. It simply plays to the moronic caricatures of Soviet Man that we were raised on and does not even begin to suggest the causes for the terrible state of much of Russia today. This is a book strung together out of cliches of thriller fiction, including the boring anti-hero--and furthermore the writing is just plain bad.
Cheap thrills for the ignorant. I suppose Harris is hoping it sold as a film.
I hope the star I gave it is taken as a zero, which was not an option. By the way, I've been to Russia several times, and it was nowhere in this book.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen A waste of time and money, 7. Februar 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel: A Novel (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Normally I buy books; this one was borrowed and I'm happy for not having spent the money.
What will the next "secret paper, hidden offspring" blizzard of titles consist of, "The Clinton chronicles"? Between the hackneyed plot, floridly gratuitous descriptions of everything from sounds in the halls to mid-hangover vomiting, and boring, overworked, scenarios - a total waste of time - and someone else's money.
The jacket writers and critics who cite this piece of work as depicting an accurate view of the "new" Russia obviously didn't experience (or otherwise know) the "old" or "new" Russia.
If "Archangel" is this author's "third and best", let's hope there is no fourth.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen very promising ..., 2. März 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel: A Novel (Gebundene Ausgabe)
ARCHANGEL, the book is like its main character, Dr.Fluke Kelso, very promising but somehow never delivers. All characters are full of stereotypes or who would have guessed that Dr.Kelso might be divorced and enjoys drinking more than his work. It all hardly scratches the surface so the people never really come to live. So you you spend 373 pages wondering when does this story really take off. If that's your kind of thrill buy it !
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Over the heads of many, 15. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel: A Novel (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Archangel is one of the finest book I have read, ever. Harris' work is a masterpiece that deserves inclusion in the Western Canon.
First, the writing is outstanding. Every paragraph is clear, compelling, bristling with ideation. Not once does the reader groan at an ill-wrought sentence.
Second, the book offers a deep psychological analysis of the callousness and homocidal mania among the 20th Century's political thugs--the compensatory processes by which they quelled their own inner demons by using the machinery of the totalitarian state to kill every decent person who crossed their paths and reminded them of their inability to love. Along these lines of character development, its portrait of Anna's mother is a masterpiece of irony--she is a loving but narrow, naive, blockheaded woman who cannot see her way to understand that the man she idealizes is a monstrous brute who destroyed her family, each one in a different way, who had her beloved daughter slaughtered to hide the monstrosity of his venal sexual crime. The characterization of Stalin's son is anything but a silly confection: it is a brilliant allegorical portrait. He personifies the amalgamation of genetic degeneration running in Stalin's genes with the depraved idea of raising this criminally conceived boy in the ice cold forests of northern Russia by a handful of minor sadists. What results is a demented anti-Christ babbling Stalinist jargon--a beautifully wrought rendering of poltical doublespeak in which the vapidity of Stalin's slogans is brought home with bristling clarity.
Third, the marvelous way Harris incorporates quotes from Stalin's own speeches and factual stories (such as the general who was shot for criticizing Stalin's callous military machinery) adds a historical depth that further enriches the book in a way that rarely emerges in other books.
Fourth, the ending to this gem is philosophically spectacular. Amidst all the male bumbling (the brilliant Kelso is manipulated like a child, the bright, reflective, well-meaning urbanite Suvorin falls apart when confronted by the raw elements outside his sheltered Moscow environment), Zinaida arises as a personification of gritty commonsense cutting to the core of the central theme in modern Russian history. After witnessing and enduring the Stalinist destruction of her own family, she is seized by a primal urge to arrest these stupid, brutish forces that are laying waste to her country. Stepping out into the rushing river of history, she does what none of the men have the courage or understanding to do--she slays the monster with a simple act of archetypal clarity--either fight bravely or watch as more families are dismembered by the monster. That so few people understand that this story is anything but a potboiler, that it is a monumental tale of human families vs. simple-minded capitulation to insectoidal brutes, is stunning evidence of how desensitized to true literary grandeur we have become in this land of incessant, ant-like clamoring for crumbs and moronic televised pablum. Archangel deserves a Pulitzer!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Historians to the Ramparts!, 11. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Archangel (Taschenbuch)
This tale of post-Soviet era derring-do has the protagonist, Fluke Kelso, in Moscow, during which time he comes into possession of a handwritten notebook previously possessed by Stalin. After much preliminary dashing about in the capital, the contents of this notebook send our hero careening north to the rusted-out city of Archangel on the Barents Sea, where he confronts this potboiler's version of Evil.
There are several aspects of this book that I found unusual. First, Kelso is not some smarmy Yank defending Mom, Old Glory, Apple Pie and the American Way against the forces of Chaos. Rather, he's a tweedy Brit manning the walls in support of Queen, Union Jack, Spotted Dick and what's left of the Empire. (Unfortunately named, Spotted Dick is, like apple pie, a dessert. Steamed pudding with currants, topped with a custard sauce. If you don't believe me, there are recipes for it on the Web.) Second, Kelso is not of the usual hero Right Stuff - a swashbuckling spy, or a world-weary cop, or a brilliant physician, or a hard-charging lawyer. Rather, he's a perfectly ordinary - almost too ordinary - bloke who happens to be an historian, whose chief talent is a knowledge of Soviet and Russian history. (We'll soon be seeing CPAs or convenience store clerks in Defender of the Free World roles, for Chrissake!) Third, Kelso fails to bed the woman passing as the story's female lead. As I recall, he doesn't even manage a kiss. Maybe it's because she's a part-time hooker. (A little too lower class, old boy. Perhaps even Bond would hesitate, what? And the Queen would not be amused.)
In any case, the action is well paced with reasonably satisfying plot twist and ending, and the dialogue is not inordinately inane. It also raises the very valid question as to modern Russia's propensity for a return to Stalinism. As Kelso observes, the Russians have no tradition of democracy, and are quickly weary of the social debate and wrangling associated with such. Under these circumstances, what they are likely to want is a Strongman with a Hard Line, and any hard line will do. Quite right, I think.
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