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The Same River Twice by Ted Mooney

The Same River Twice

by Ted Mooney

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9910191,136 (3.39)21
When Odile Mével, a French clothing designer, agrees to smuggle ceremonial May Day banners out of the former Soviet Union, she thinks she's trading a few days' inconvenience for a quick thirty thousand francs. Yet when she returns home to Paris to deliver the contraband to the American art expert behind this scheme, her fellow courier has disappeared, her apartment is ransacked for no discernible reason, and she has already set in motion a chain of events that will put those closest to her in jeopardy.… (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
"An attempt at a literary thriller. My take - too much self-absorption, too little thriller. Don't waste your time, unless you're interest to learn how the world's best scams are conducted in the art market." ( )
  atortorice001 | Mar 4, 2012 |
A suspenceful and smooth read that slowly builds into a page turner. Tries to answer the question, "Can you really start over"? ( )
  Joanne53 | Nov 16, 2011 |
  living2read | Jan 21, 2011 |
  books4micks | Jan 21, 2011 |
A stylish & atmospheric thriller with all the requisite elements for escapist winter reading: a glamorous setting in Paris, smart & idiosyncratic characters with cool jobs (filmmaking, fashion design), a plot involving the smuggling of art objects, the Russian mafia & mysterious women with tattoos ... even a bit of metaphysical speculation (Can one truly start over in life?) thrown in for good measure. In my opinion the ending fails to deliver on the promise of a surprising climactic scene, but overall I found this to be an enjoyable read, similar in some ways to William Gibson's Pattern Recognition/Spook Country/Zero History novels, but less oblique & challenging.

"You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you."
--Heraclitus ( )
  booksinthebelfry | Jan 10, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
STARRED REVIEW: Mooney (Easy Travel to Other Planets, 1981) returns with a rich, multilayered, powerfully unsettling novel. It succeeds on a number of different levels: as a page-turning mystery in which conceptual art meets the scientific vanguard of stem-cell research and as a meditation on the trusts and betrayals of a marriage, on truth and illusion and the relation of each to artistic creativity. A French designer named Odile finds herself paired with a stranger by an art dealer who has hired them to smuggle communist flags from Russia, with plans to market them in Paris as objects of art. The book barely touches on "the political ironies of selling communist artifacts in a venue so aggressively market-oriented," though the collapse of the Soviet Union has significant implications for the plot. Odile's American husband, a highly regarded avant-garde film director, also finds himself caught in a bit of intrigue, as copies of one his movies surface with an alternative ending he never shot. After Odile's smuggling partner disappears, she is threatened by Russians who suspect levels of conspiracy to which Odile has been oblivious. As allegiances shift and Max's new movie further blurs distinctions between life and art, Max discovers that his own impressions have become like "shards of a broken mirror, each reflecting one or two of the others but refusing to come together as a whole." But as this literary artist creates art about art, manipulating characters he has created, the whole comes together in a morally ambiguous manner that seems equally surprising, disturbing and inevitable.
"Paris is a small place," says more than one character, as the reader discovers just how small the city--and the artistic community and the world of international crime--can be.
added by tedmooney | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 5, 2010)
"VERDICT: A taut and lively thriller that mingles the worlds of Paris and New York art collectors and filmmakers with a seamy and violent criminal underworld as it explores the nature of art, fate and inevitability. Recommended."
added by tedmooney | editLibrary Journal, Lawrence Rungren
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