Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Coffee Trader--David Liss

As I stare into the murky depths of my second mug o'java I realize this is the fourth Jewish centered book this summer. Hmmm, Clan Ullman is permeating my brain. However this is the first one about coffee and coffee should always be first. (Esp before typing)

This novel is set in 17th C Amsterdam. So I am all over it, even more because it is an "elegantly composed historical suspense thriller". I HAVE A GENRE!!! Or should I say my novel Fealty has a genre.

I am enjoying this book quite a bit more than the Michael Chabon's I just finished. I also like the way Liss does a chapter per character to introduce everybody. During the production his film "The Hidden Fortress," my beloved Japanese director Akira Kurosawa has been fabled to have gone through the following composition: a seemingly hopeless situation would be shown, and only after a concerted deliberation by the production team would the protagonist be given a way out, and the film would then proceed to the next scene. (Hmmm sound like the LOST writers?... YES!)

My darling readers need only be reminded of this anecdote (which I am sure I have rambled on about in some other Post Modern post---oooh that's not too wordy! *insert sarcasm*) to grasp the nature of both this novel, the author G.R.R. Martin AND my own book which is, of course, rolling around in my head.

"Where no friends remain friends or enemies remain enemies,"
Poor Miguel hurdles through the ever-changing schemes & machinations to finally obtain his monopoly on coffee, he lost his guilders after a sugar market crash and is now trying to resurrect himself by searching for investors who would consider a new product called "coffee", he lives in his brother's house and has the hots for his brother's wife --then he hooks up with a sexy Dutch widow, WHO in my opinion is the strongest character. I don't why; but, I really like female characters written by men. What would Dr. Freud say?

Right now in the narrative Miguel is gambling on the speculative coffee market, gauging the "right moment". EEEP!! Drama!

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