Book: December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith

Imaginative and subtle but with an unsatisfying ending

Martin Cruz Smith
December 6
Simon & Schuster, 2002
ISBN 0-684-87253-6

In this historical novel, Harry Niles is the son of American missionaries to Japan and has lived most of his life in Tokyo. As a youth in the 1920s, he had fascinating adventures among Tokyo's criminals and its demi-monde. Now he's a slightly-shady nightclub owner there in December of 1942. In his personal and, um, buisness life, he seems always to know when to be subtle and when to be audacious. But will even his luck, wiles, cultural understanding, and gambler's instincts get him out of Japan before the war that everyone is expecting comes?

Not a stunning book but darned good fun. Mr Smith's prose has imagination and subtlety that matches the imagination and subtlety of his plot. There is hardly a false note here. Plus I enjoyed the vicarious experience of being a scoundrel with, if not quite a heart of gold, at least a personal sense of ethics. The ending is remarkable but, alas, was somewhat unsatisfying to me.

Posted: Sun - November 16, 2003 at 09:11   Main   Category: