Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta

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Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Ekaterina Rodyunina
Reviewed by Ekaterina Rodyunina
Summary: It looks like a classic spy novel set in after-war Berlin. It starts with a dead midget corpse, an orphan gang member, a very ill ex-soldier Pavel and a prostitute brought together by a twist of fate. Their story is told by the mysterious narrator who takes us patiently through betrayal, dire need to survive, love, fidelity - to a highly uncertain outcome.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747591931

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This book left me so confused that I had to write about three different reviews of it and I'm still unsure of what to make of it.

It looks like a classic spy novel set in post-war Berlin. It starts with a dead midget corpse, an orphan gang member, a very ill ex-soldier Pavel and a prostitute brought together by a twist of fate. Their story is told by the mysterious narrator who takes us patiently through betrayal, dire need to survive, love, fidelity - to a highly uncertain outcome.

It is meant to be a puzzle, and a puzzle it is, filled with teaser sentences that leave you hanging, with unexpected plot turns and unconventional truths.

It has all the qualities of a great book - it is easily-enough written to be a page-turner, the characters are believable and intriguing, the style sharp and laconic... but somehow it did not strike me as a great book.

Perhaps it is the lack of plot consistency (I am still in doubt - so who is Pavel?), perhaps it is the rushed ending? Or the number of issues the author tries to address, while failing to answer his own questions in full?

Despite everything above, it is a pleasant read. Pavel's character is remarkably portrayed, controversial and ambigious. Vyleta has a gift for description and talent for wording that will take you through three hundred plus pages in no time. A good book to spend five hours on the plane with, but not the one to hold a special place on your bookshelf.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag.

If you enjoy books about a stand-alone character in complicated spy games, why not check The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst

Buy Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta at Amazon.com.


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