05 kesäkuuta, 2014
Mika Waltari: Suuri illusioni
GR: 5/5 tähteä
'The Grand Illusion' is about love and life during the 1920s. In a funny way it was both modern and old-fashioned. Some attitudes towards women were surprisingly modern, like a 19-year-old girl can travel with his boyfriend without people judging her. Then again the language used was old, probably because for some newer words there were no Finnish equivalents, but it was part of the book's charm. There was also some talk of cocaine and bootleg alcohol, mentions of prostitution and even homosexuality, and people drinking Absinthe in Paris.
I think what surprised me the most that this was actually a book written by a 19-year-old (former?) Theology student. The characters in the book were some years older (and a couple had their well known models in real life) and it did have some "adult" feel to it. But I also understand why Waltari didn't think too much of it in his later years.
I think I'll give this five stars, not because it was such a literary masterpiece, but because it had some freshness in it and because I liked it more than my four-star books from this year. I especially enjoyed the "zeitgeist" of the book, the chat with a German student in a train was quite interesting. (Maybe it had really happened one way or another?) But I think this book proves one of the themes in Waltari's later work (that I have yet to read, though) that everything ultimately stays the same, at least the people and their feelings.