“The Odessa File” by Frederic Forsyth has aged very well

FFOdessaFileSome books, like wine, have the ability to age well. “The Odessa File” by Frederic Forsyth is one of those books. It’s full of history — that can turn in to irrelevant couleur locale in some novels, but in the hands of Forsyth it becomes interwoven with the story. It becomes one of the assets for the reader. It is not difficult to see what has made the Forsyth name into a classic in crime fiction: this ease of welding history, facts and fiction together seamlessly. In the case of “The Odessa File” it means you are sitting pretty whether you know a lot about the Second World War or not, about life in 1963 or not. It is obvious that “The Odessa File” has become somewhat of a classic, one that has also been turned into a motion picture. How has the novel held out through the years? In my opinion Forsyth proves himself a master of using historical and technical facts in a story. The amount of facts in this novel is astonishing (especially about WWII and the holocaust), but it works seamlessly with the story. It is not difficult to understand why filmmakers wanted to turn “The Odessa File” into a motion picure. So, what’s attractive about this novel? The story about a nazi plot and a nazi hunt is strong and believable and if it’s no longer relevant today, it still stands firmly as a post WWII story. By now, a lot of the “revelations” in this novel have been overshadowed by the real knowledge we have, by what we know about war criminals and where they fled and how long they succeeded in being undiscovered. When it comes to the characters: I found that part of the novel is hard to judge. The stories of human suffering during WWII are so evident and vivid here, that the main character’s life remains somewhat bleak by comparison. It’s something that didn’t bother me; I just realized it in retrospect. Overall you are getting an impressive novel in the crime genre, with a twist close to the end that I absolutely didn’t anticipate. Well done, I’d say. See what you think.