Tatiana

Tatiana

An Arkady Renko Novel

Book - 2013
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"In Tatiana, Martin Cruz Smith, 'the master of the international thriller' (The New York Times) creates the most compelling heroine of his career and the most realistic, damning portrait of modern Russia in contemporary literature. One of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, Arkady Renko -- cynnical, analytical, and quietly subversive -- has survived the cultural journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find the nation as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship. In Tatiana, Martin Cruz Smith's most ambitious novel since Gorky Park, the melancholy hero finds himself on the trail of a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia herself. The fearless investigative reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow the same week that a mob billionaire, Grisha Grigorenko, is shot and buried with the trappings due a lord. No one makes the connection, but Arkady is transfixed by the tapes he discovers of Tatiana's voice, even as she describes horrific crimes hidden by official versions. The trail leads to Kaliningrad, a Cold War "secret city" and home of the Baltic Fleet, separated by hundreds of miles from the rest of Russia. Arkady delves into Tatiana's past and a surreal world of wandering dunes and amber mines. His only link is a notebook written in the personal code of a translator whose body is found in the dunes. Arkady's only hope of decoding the symbols lies in Zhenya, a teenage chess hustler. More than a mystery, Tatiana is a story rich in character, black humor, and romance, with an insight that is the hallmark of Martin Cruz Smith" -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781439153185
1439153183
9781849838122
1849838127
9781439140215
1439140219
Branch Call Number: FICTION SMITH MARTIN
Characteristics: 292 pages : map ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Tatiana

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j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

All the risks he had taken were worthless chips. He was a poet without words.
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“That’s a lie.” Arkady shook his head and said, “The correct response is ‘Who?’ ”
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Arkady could practically see the beads of an abacus sliding on a rack calculating the risks one way and the other.
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‘F is for fool, the man who returns home early and finds himself replaced. Another man is in his bed, folded like a jackknife around his wife.’
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“Patricide.” Ape whispered and nodded to his sons. “Let one boy get away with it and you encourage the others. ... Sometimes it’s more important to teach my boys a lesson than to make another hundred million dollars."
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Insomnia arrived in the middle of the night like a tardy guest.
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" ... The Aztecs, you know? Human sacrifice raised to its greatest heights? They would cut out a heart or skin a man alive. At the same time, they were a civilization of great beauty.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

Suggest to read quotes after reading the book to avoid spoilers.
Zhenya said, “According to Arkady, there’s an old navy saying, ‘First speed, then direction.’ ” “Meaning what?” asked Lotte. “Going anywhere is better than going nowhere.”
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“He was a historian. He used to say, ‘Sometimes, the less you know the better.’ ” “What kind of historian is that?” “A Russian historian. He said that in a normal country, history moves forward. History evolves. But in Russia it can go in any direction or disappear completely, which makes us the envy of the world. Imagine a Kaliningrad anywhere else.”
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"... Did you know that the youngest ocean in the world is the Baltic Sea?” “Is that why we’re here, to watch the sea grow old?”
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" ...You’re his friend—is he suicidal?” Victor considered the point. “No, but he isn’t a ray of sunshine.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

“A joke. A man is reading a book, and there’s a knock at the door. He answers it, and there’s a snail at his doorstep. The man just wants to read his book, so he kicks the snail out into the dark and goes back to reading. Two years pass. There’s a knock at the door. He opens it and it’s the snail, and the snail asks, ‘What the fxyk was that about?’ ..."
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“Ninety percent of the world’s amber comes from Kaliningrad. Control Kaliningrad and you control the world’s production of amber. That’s worth some degree of fuss.”
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“There are two kinds of poets. The starving poet and the randy, dissolute poet. I prefer the latter.” He summoned the sommelier.
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“I thought you were only going to be there overnight.” “I thought so too. Things got complicated.” “That will be on your tombstone, ‘Things Got Complicated.’ ”

j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

A pathologist was no respecter of men. To him, heroes, tyrants, holy men were all meat on a slab. Alive, they may have been draped in military decorations or a professor’s robes. Dead, their secrets poured out as cheesy rolls of fat, blackened liver, the tender brain exposed in its bowl. Nothing more.
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“They’d shoot their mother if she was standing on a dollar bill,”
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“We are now riding on the most expensive highway in Europe. In other words, the mayor’s wife has a road construction company. That’s the way things are done here. ..."
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Poets aren't finished. They just babble on.
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“So if you drop your house keys at the back door, do you search for them at the front door because the light is better? Besides, I just like to see.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

“You’re in luck. I have been making a study of ‘interpretation’ to see whether it tells us something about the foundations of language. The basic words. Mother. Father.”
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“Do you know how old Alexander the Great was when he conquered the world? Nineteen.” “A precocious lad.” “Do you know who his teacher was?” “Who?” “Aristotle. Aristotle told him to go conquer the world.” “Maybe he just meant travel.”
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“Senior Investigator Renko, in Italy a senior investigator is a man with a broom.”
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“The poet Yesenin knew it a hundred years ago. Russia is a drunken bear, sometimes an entertainment, sometimes a threat, often a genius, but as night falls, always a drunken bear curled up in the corner."

j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

“This is a little public,” Arkady said. “Oh, nobody pays attention. They’re all in their own world, thinking deep religious thoughts. The church is a dead telephone; even though people know better, they pick it up and listen. Have you been listening?”
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Arkady thought if he lit a candle for everyone Grisha had wronged, the cathedral would burn down.
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She said if she had a car, she’d have a sticker that said, ‘So Much Corruption, So Little Time.’
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“Two of Alexi’s friends were found innocent of murder,” Anya said. “Innocent as a baby or innocent as a bought judge?” “The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold them,” Alexi said. “Judges can be expensive,” Arkady told Anya. “They should put an ATM in the courtroom and eliminate the middleman.”
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The man from Special Operations says, ‘When you chop wood, chips fly.’ ”

j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

“Both sides have the same weapons. That’s because our Soviet soldiers have traded their weapons for vodka. Here in Afghanistan, vodka is the great equalizer.”
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Personally, I’ve decided I’m too old to die. It’s very simple when you’re young and you don’t have a family and financial obligations. At my age, it’s a mess.
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There’s a pattern. A journalist is murdered; an unlikely suspect is arrested, tried and found not guilty. And that’s the end of it, except we get the message. Soon there will be no news but their news. They say it’s better than a free press, it’s a free but ‘responsible’ press.
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here comes the Kremlin’s smear campaign. She was a subverter of youth, an agent of the West, a wanton woman. They throw mud at you even as they kill you; that’s the way they work.
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"It’s like that old adage about a tree falling in the forest; if nobody hears it, was there a sound?” “What if it falls on you?”

j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

Kaliningrad had a reputation of being ugly and crime ridden, a city that was an orphan or bastard or both. Escape the city, however, and, voilà, a pastoral delight.
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“Real authority doesn’t devolve on you.” “You take it. You exercise it.” “You demonstrate it, like, you know, ‘Another great night here in Babylon.’ ”
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" ... How can they lose a body?” “They’ve lost bodies for years. It’s one of their functions.
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Everything was simple for her, he thought, so jet-black or snow-white. She held the advantage because he had never had that purity of conviction. If she was a spoiled child, he was a wet blanket, a spoilsport. As a journalist, Anya wanted to be close to the action, while Arkady was a man in retreat.
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“Every snail prefers its own shell,”
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As he followed Svetlana he became aware that she was putting more sway into her steps than was absolutely necessary. You’re stirring a cold pot, he thought. Thank you for trying.

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j
jimg2000
Feb 27, 2016

Been a fan since Gorky Park in print and film. This latest Smith's book took place in a resort village in Kakiningrad, a place where bird watchers, amber hunters and corruption congregated. Colorful place, characters and intriguing story. Great read.

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