The Same River Twice
Knopf, May 2010, $26.95
American filmmaker Max Colby is stunned when he finds a copy of a movie he made with a different ending than he filmed. At the same time his ego takes a shot as he always thought he was the best but the new climax is oddly amateurish yet in some ways superior to his though he would never admit this even to himself; his inquiry as to who changed the ending leads to the Russians. Meanwhile his fashion designer wife Odile is contacted for a chance to make some money and help her in trouble lover art dealer Turner by smuggling from Russia Communist Soviet flags to sell as avant-garde pieces.
She and her traveling companion Thierry Colin succeed. However, almost immediately after they are back in the West, Colin vanishes and Odile’s Paris apartment is broken into and turned upside down as someone looks for something. The Russians are coming as Max begins filming his latest movie about art creating art while hoping to serendipitously film Odile with her lover. Murder spins the cast in ways none would have suspected before the sale of Communist flag as great art.
This is a wonderful yet odd thriller that ties the chic art avant-garde film worlds of New York and Paris with criminal mob activity. Everyone is a wannabe Machiavellian manipulator trying to pull the strings of everyone else who are doing likewise. Although the homicide is over the top of the Pyrenees, fans who appreciate something different will enjoy the character driven tale of how dangerous crossing The Same River Twice is when the Russian Mafia are the toll collectors.