Alan Furst’s World War II espionage novels can sometimes read nothing like novels about spies. Instead they’ll tell of a postcard from a lost friend, signed with an impersonal, intimate X. They’ll contemplate the slow rolling of cigarettes at a Paris café, an untapped telephone under the bar, and former lovers pretending a kiss in order to escape unwanted attention. Jean-Claude Casson, hero of "The World at Night," is no James Bond, so when he is unlucky, we feel it sharply; when he loses, we lose at his side; and should Jean-Claude happen to find an occasional, small success, we understand how one can survive a war, and escape with dignity. Furst writes of passion and sacrifice and moments decided upon or missed with such sincerity that you might think all the world depended on the actions of a few unimportant men. As if that were possible. As if it didn’t already occur.Brilliant writing, and another wonderful book from Alan Furst.