MLA Gold Award Site

Alan Furst biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Alan Furst
© Shonna Valeska

Alan Furst

Alan Furst Biography

Alan Furst was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. An only child with older parents, he wandered alone or with friends around New York and learned to love the city and its people. He attended Oberlin College, mistakenly majoring in English, too late discovering anthropology, the proper major for a writer. After graduating, he drove a taxi in New York and wrote poetry, eventually finding work as a teaching assistant in English at the Pennsylvania State University, which led to an MA, a never-to-be-finished PhD, and a Fulbright teaching fellowship at the Université de Montpellier in southern France.

Returning to America, he went to Seattle, wanting to be away from the East Coast. In Seattle, he wrote copy for ad agencies, a well-paid freelancer supported by creative directors who liked his (dreadful) first novel, Your Day in the Barrel, published by Atheneum - a book by a writer who wrote well but had nothing to write about, so he wrote a murder mystery. Three more novels followed, one worse than the last - two mysteries and a contemporary spy novel. To call him a midlist writer at this point would not really be accurate - “low list” says it better.

Moving to Bainbridge Island, he began to write for magazines, Esquire in particular, political travel pieces that foreshadowed his novels of Europe in the 1930s. Wanting to change everything, he moved full-time to Paris (and remained there for seven years), writing Night Soldiers, his first historical espionage novel, which was published by Houghton Mifflin. Publishers Weekly said of it, “Yes, it's the same person, but this novel is completely different from the previous ones.”

In Paris, he wrote the back-page column for the International Herald Tribune once a week on whatever topic he chose. Later on, when asked to be a spokesman for Absolut vodka, he wrote the copy himself, in the style of a 1940s novel.

He now lives in an old house in Sag Harbor, at the eastern end of Long Island.

The novels - really one very long book with, to date, twelve chapters - are Night Soldiers (Houghton Mifflin, 1988); Dark Star (Houghton Mifflin, 1991); The Polish Officer (Random House,1995); The World At Night (Random House, 1996); Red Gold (Random House, 1999); Kingdom of Shadows (Random House, 2000); Blood of Victory (Random House, 2002); Dark Voyage (Random House, 2004); The Foreign Correspondent (Random House, 2006); The Spies of Warsaw (Random House, 2008); Spies of the Balkans (Random House, 2010); and Mission to Paris (Random House, 2012). Kingdom of Shadows was the first of these books to appear on the New York Times bestseller list; the subsequent books appeared there as well. The Spies of Warsaw is now being made into a BBC television production, to be shown in fall 2012.

Alan Furst's novels have been translated into eighteen languages. In 2011 he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, a literary prize for a body of work.

From the author's website

Alan Furst's website

This bio was last updated on 11/28/2016. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Alan Furst at BookBrowse
A Hero of France jacket Midnight in Europe jacket Mission to Paris jacket Spies of the Balkans jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Alan Furst but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • William Brodrick

    William Brodrick

    William Brodrick, in a career change that reverses that of his character Father Anselm's, was an Augustinian friar before leaving in order to become a practicing barrister. His novels include The Sixth Lamentation, The ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Blood of Victory

    Try:
    The 6th Lamentation
    by William Brodrick

  • Martin Cruz Smith

    Martin Cruz Smith

    Martin Cruz Smith was born in Pennsylvania in 1942. He is an American mystery novelist. He earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964.

    Cruz Smith first burst onto the literary landscape with... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Kingdom of Shadows

    Try:
    December 6
    by Martin Cruz Smith

We recommend 32 similar authors

View all 32 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
    by Kathleen Rooney

    "Effervescent with verve, wit, and heart" - Booklist, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...
  • Book Jacket: Homesick for Another World
    Homesick for Another World
    by Ottessa Moshfegh
    The frizzy, freaky, funky, and frazzled all pile on in this much anticipated short story collection ...
  • Book Jacket: Conclave
    Conclave
    by Robert Harris
    Although best known for his fact-based historical thrillers, in Conclave, best-selling author Robert...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.