Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

A Reading Diary

Day 1

Off to a mixed start! Three bodies, frozen under the snow in Gorky Park in Moscow, faces and fingertips mutilated to prevent easy identification. Bit of tension between our hero-to-be, Arkady Renko, and the boo-hiss stereotypical baddie from the KGB. The writing is messy with sentences quite often requiring more than one reading to try (or fail) to work out what the author is trying to communicate, but maybe it will improve. Or maybe it won’t.

“Vodka was liquid taxation, and the price was always rising. It was accepted that three was the lucky number on a bottle in terms of economic prudence and desired effect. It was a perfect example of primitive communism.”


Day 2

No movement in the plot whatsoever. I say plot, but I fear one has yet to appear. We’ve had our first naked woman though, complete with nipple description! Arkady’s wife, who seems to stroll around their apartment naked despite the Arctic weather outside – who knew Muscovites had such effective heating systems in the 1980s? Impressive! And fortunate, since she and Arkady generate no heat of their own, clearly disliking each other quite a lot. Arkady meets another girl, though – a weird and quirky twenty-one-year-old, with whom our middle-aged hero is obviously destined to have sex at some point. I wonder what her nipples will be like…

Day 3

Still no identification of the corpses. Still no movement in the investigation. Arkady and his wife have split up after Arkady got into a punch-up with her lover. Arkady has been beaten up by someone whose identity we also don’t know, but despite being punched in the heart twice and kicked in the head, next day he’s fine. To summarise – three unidentified corpses, no suspects, no plot, two beatings, one naked woman, and endless lectures about Soviet history and how awful life is under Soviet rule (because presumably we didn’t know that). To quote Chandler Bing, could I be more bored?

Day 4

Apparently I could.

* * * * *

Abandoned at 19%. Life is too short and the book is too long.

* * * * *

This was The People’s Choice winner for November. Thanks for getting it off my TBR, People! 😉

Book 11 of 12

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38 thoughts on “Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

  1. So what did you think of the book, FictionFan? Were you drawn in? Did you feel swept away? 😉 Seriously, I am sorry to hear you didn’t like it better. But there is so much to read, and life is limited. I give you credit for stopping if you could see it wasn’t for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I loved every word – could you tell? 😉 I’m afraid when a book is long it needs to grab my interest quite early on or I have too much time for boredom to set in, and then I become hyper-critical! Haha, my abandoned pile this year could fuel a power-plant… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I suspect I got it on that same Daily Deal! The only thing I’d say in its favour is that most people seem to love it, so don’t let me put you off completely… though sometimes I think it’s better just to accept the financial hit and move on… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant review, think I’ll skip the book though. I seem to remember voting for something else that month, as the blurb for this didn’t exactly appeal anyway. At least it is ticked off your list now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thank you – sometimes I just need to get a book out of my system! 😉 I was actually really pleased when this one won – I expected to enjoy it. Wrong again – oh dear! 😂


  3. I’m almost positive I didn’t vote for this one, so I can’t take any blame here! Good for you, FF, abandoning it when you did. I can only imagine how much worse something like this could get, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I can never blame The People anyway since it’s me who bought all these silly books in the first place! 😉 I think it was fear of how much worse it could get that led me to cut and run… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel certain I didn’t vote for this one. It didn’t interest me then and it SURE doesn’t interest me now!! Thanks for a thoroughly entertaining review! 😃 I’m glad it’s off your TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I did flick to the end as I often do before finally abandoning a book and I could tell there was clearly a plot at some point – but I was bored waiting! 😉 I know a lot of it is me – I just don’t seem to have had the motivation to stick with books that aren’t quickly grabbing me for the last year or so. I blame Covid…

      Liked by 1 person

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