A Most Wanted Man (Old Edition) Paperback – 11 June 2009
A first-class novel about the most pressing moral and political concerns of our time.
le Carr? is back on form in a cracking terror plot.
Wry, warm, compassionate.
A cautionary tale, rich in humanity, from a master storyteller back at the peak of his powers.
This is bleak, brilliant, hypnotic stuff and yet another reason to count le Carr? among this country's very finest contemporary writers. Unhesitatingly recommended.
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- Publisher : Hodder Paperbacks (11 June 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0340977094
- ISBN-13 : 978-0340977095
- Item Weight : 249 g
- Dimensions : 11.2 x 17.8 x 2.9 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #585,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The interaction between Issa, Annabel and Tommy fuels much of what happens next, with Tommy assuming the now classical role of seniors in Le Carré’s oeuvre, trying to end a failing career with a resounding victory. However, the intelligence service of Germany, the UK and the US always had their eye on Issa and wonder what he will do with his millions... And then the intrigues between the services begin...“
Wrote something like this in a May 2010 review for a Dutch media. Also praised JLC for being an inclusive writer, standing up for the weak like refugees or victims of the pharmaceutical or arms industry. And that here the intelligence services were apparently not operating very smartly.
Events since 2010 have caused a sea change in public opinion and European and US politics re political/humanitarian asylum, immigration and terrorism. The 2015 influx of some 800.000 non-vetted refugees into Germany was said by its top politicians to have prevented a fresh Balkan war, and of course, there were real terrorists among them. In June 2016, the UK panicked and voted itself out of the EU, partly or largely over immigration concerns. Today the EU is busy trying to contain immigration via diplomacy in transit nations like Turkey, Tunisia and Libya and devising concentric defensive-cum-preventive programs in e.g. Gambia, Niger and Sudan. Only months ago, Polish immigration stopped hundreds of suspected Chechen Islamists arriving by bus and train from entering the EU.
Le Carre could not possibly have foreseen all this. Am curious how fresh readers will appreciate this novel. Am also sure there are plenty of people like Annabel left in Germany and elsewhere to defend legitimate asylum seekers. Beautifully composed and written, as always.
The Novel is well written as always, fluent and gripping. Takes place in Hamburg, symbolically (and later proven crucial to the turn of events) the city where the 9/11 perpetrators have found refuge right under the nose of the German intelligence services. It is in this city that an illegal Chechen Muslim immigrant, called Issa Karpov finds refuge with a Turkish family.
We later find out that Issa is indeed wanted both in Sweden and in Russia/his homeland. He is helped by human rights lawyer Annabel Richter (an infidel to whom he is slightly attracted and subsequently tries to fight the ambiguity of his identity) and by a banker called Tommy Bruce, whose bank "inherited" an illegal account that involves Issa (i won't give up any more details - don't worry!)
Meanwhile, this is all taking place under the scrutiny of Gunther Bachmann a washed up German intelligence officer, determined to make amends to the German miss of 9/11 (and his own complicated past) by using Issa as a source to get to a high ranking terrorist activist. This is done under and despite the interference of the British intelligence, The Americans and Gunther's superiors.
So far the plot. I have now heard that there's a movie coming out (starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Gunther) and I must confess this story might do better on the big screen than as a novel. True to my Le Carré I still call it a great read, but it seemed that (though the message is very well understood) it lacks some sort of "Le Carré-ish panache" ...
It's hard for me to put the finger on it, but it seemed like the message the great Spy-master is trying to convey has already been comprehended in "Absolute Friends" (if you read it you know what I'm talking about, ho mighty America!). A Most Wanted Man is promising at the start but loses it's momentum, and leaves you with a somewhat sense of a miss ... meaning you sit there thinking "this could have been spectacular ! "
Still a great read as always (i said it three times now), well written and intriguing - though it is one of few Le Carré that did not get 5 stars by me.
The core of the novel is to be found in a speech delivered by a character who has no other role in the book but whose presence is neither forced nor artificial. le Carré's control of an intricate narrative is admirably sure-footed. The speech in question deliberates on good and evil and how both may be embodied in one person, perhaps even without that person understanding how to reconcile them. Can ninety-five per cent good justify five per cent bad? This is no abstract sermon; set in the context of Islamic fundamentalism it is a thoughtful contribution to a powerful 21st Century debate.
le Carré's skill is to make it equally relevant to the growing tension of his story. The characters are drawn with enough depth that their influence on unfolding events - or their inability to influence them - makes satisfying sense. Perhaps this is not, as Stella Rimmington has suggested, an accurate portrayal of the intelligence services at work today. No matter. While we turn the pages, drawn into the web, le Carré convinces us that it is.
The Master story teller is back. A thousand welcomes.