Thursday, April 07, 2011
The novel begins with English language teacher William Bradshaw travelling from Holland to Germany by train. Along the journey he encounters fellow ex-pat Author Norris. Norris is extremely nervous and may or may not be involved in some illegal activity e.g. smuggling. When his passport is examined at the frontier crossing he is on the point of collapse.
Mr. Norris Changes Trains is set in Berlin in the early 1930's and charts the friendship between the two men as they travel through the Berlin underworld. Bradshaw who is rather straightforward is in his mid twenties while Norris who throughout is considerably shifty is middle aged.
We observe the two men as they wine and dine and Norris tries to extract money where ever he can. Norris who despite his love of a lavish life style somehow he become entangled with the German Communist Party and is engaged as a speaker for their cause.
Included among their circle is a certain Baron Pregnitz who is also a Minister in the Weimar Government. However Norris is engaged in an apparent swindle of the Baron and involves a reluctant Bradshaw in his plans. All however is not as it seems and the novel has a nice twist at the end.
Despite the light touch percolates throughout the novel has sinister political undertones. However the reader cannot help but like the roguish Arthur Norris. The novel ends with Bradshaw returning to London on the coming to power of the Nazi Party.
Labels: Mr. Norris Changes Trains