Sunday, June 17, 2007

Martin Cruz Smith

I return to blogging after yet another prolonged absence. This time it was partly due to loss of my Internet connection. It was days before I could find enough time to stay on the phone with tech support to recover the connection. (My ISP tries to weed out the weak-willed by making the customers first fight their way through a jungle of computer-voice links, then slog through the prolonged "you're-on-hold-but-we-really-value-your-call" waiting period, before reaching someone who can actually help.) Once I got finally got hold of a live human technician, we spent half an hour tracing various software paths to figure out what the problem was. It appears I screwed up some settings while trying to uninstall a piece of hardware a couple of weeks ago. I'm glad to be back online now, after going through days and days of Internet Withdrawal.

The topic on my mind right now is Martin Cruz Smith, whose latest novel (Stalin's Ghost) was just released. He rates a lot of respect in my weekly writers' group. Three of us had read his work and recommended him repeatedly to the others for several years. Two of them finally got around to reading some of his work in the last few months and both have raved about him--see comments on the C.S. Harris blog. (I thought Charles Gramlich had a Martin Cruz Smith entry on his blog, too, but after skimming several months of his entries I can't find it. I guess I was confusing his comments during our meetings with blog commentary.)

Anyway, if you haven't yet read Martin Cruz Smith, try one of his books. I recommend you start with Gorky Park. I've decided to re-read some of his books myself, starting with Gorky Park. I love the character of Arkady Renko; I'm a sucker for a noble hero who fights against overwhelming odds. C.S. Harris' one-sentence analysis of his character in her blog entry (see link above) is spot-on:
[O]ne of the most fascinating aspects of Arkady’s character is that as much as he hates totalitarianism and bureaucracy and coercion, he genuinely believes in all that is good and noble about the pure communist philosophy.

I Googled Martin Cruz Smith and came up with some items of interest. Apparently he's not a cyber-wise author--the only "official website" for him is an amateurish and out-of-date page on However, I found other pieces of interest:

Here are other interviews of him:
He's one of America's best living writers, in my opinion.


Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, sort of a Martin Cruz Smith Primer. Thanks for all the links. I mentioned enjoying Smith in one of my blog posts but the whole post wasn't dedicated to him. I don't think I even included his name at the bottom so that's probably why you didn't find it. I did comment in the group on how much I enjoyed him.

Sidney said...

I liked the one set in Cuba which I read mostly in a hotel room while my wife was attending a conference.

Hey, I got tagged for one of those eight questions memes and I had to name eight other bloggers who might want to play so I included you. Visit my blog for the rules if you want to play.

booker said...

On page 277 of "Stalin's" Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith there is the paragraph:

One evening was devoted to Pushkin. It was a salon. Everyone brought in their favorite verse. Very artsy. I brought Pushkin's diary. It had all the women he shagged in intimate detail. The man could write.

We are the publishers of this "Pushkin's diary" that is "Secret Journal 1836-1837"

Are you aware of it?