Buchan's depiction of opium-addicted and world-weary Ryazanov is of the highest order and he uses his considerable knowledge of classical Persian references to orchestrate a courtly, ornate dialogue between almost all protagonists. Pitt and Shirin address each other with flowery subjunctive benedictions, but as this is also an urgent political fairytale, the classical mode is forever being subverted by cold, contemporary realism.
A Good Place to Die puts one in mind of the achievements of Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Shame. The zestful fabulism, the use of real political figureheads as major characters, the "magical" transhistorical use of imperialist luminaries, the decorous gallows humour all seem to point to Rushdie as the original pioneer. But that Buchan can do things that Rushdie either cannot or does not wish to attempt and, unlike Rushdie, there is often a precise and lyrical tenderness in his writing.Reuse content