Arnaldur and Erlendur

We were going to entitle this a Ruthian moment but we did not want to confuse folks into thinking this is a baseball post because this is a book review.  The Draining Lake (TDL) by Arnaldur Indridason is an epic book.  We suspect he thinks of himself as Arnaldur but to find it you will need to have the patronymic Indridason.

Sidebar: In 1919 Babe Ruth set the MLB record for home runs with 29.  That was impressive as it was the most ever.  But 1920 was a Ruthian moment when he hit an astounding 54 home runs.  The MLB runner up had 19.  Arnaldur’s TDL is his Ruthian moment.  The other books were really good but TDL is a Ruthian step up for him.  End Sidebar.

We had read four of the Inspector Erlendur books, one out of order, and the stand alone Operation Napoleon.  We enjoyed all of them but were taken aback by the power of TDL.  It weaves together the story of Inspector Erlendur with the insidious impact of Communism.  As often happens, Erlendur is connected with an old missing persons case.  This time he is trying to identify a body exposed by the draining lake.  It connects the Iron Curtain, especially East Germany, with Iceland and the Cold War.

It does a brilliant job of showing the impact of Communism.  It gives us vivid specific cases as well as the overall data.  What makes it extraordinary, Ruthian, is that it tells us why Communism and socialism is so popular despite its long history of failure.  It is a book that everyone should read today.

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