To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
In common with other readers, I was losing faith in the author of the incomparable Smiley novels. The Constant Gardener, Mission Song, Single and Single suggested a forlorn search for unexplored territory. Now, with one bound, our hero has liberated himself - or, rather, rediscovered himself in the dark, duplicitous recesses of the international intelligence community. Wonderfully, although all the old la Carré characteristics remain, they belong in a very modern world of terrorism with a banking sub plot.
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.
I have just finished reading "A Most Wanted Man". It took me a couple of days of after-work reading but I really wish that I had taken it in one long gulp. The pleasure would have been even greater: it is a superbly written story that shrieks out a challenge to injustice and double-dealing and the swaggering, bullying use of power.
In terms of execution, there are sentences and phrases that pull you up short while you register the absolute exactitude of the description of the emotion or experience that Le Carre has put on paper. In terms of plotting it couldn't be better - taught, not a step misplaced, just enough to let the reader see the path without revealing the destination. In terms of finale, although you know early on and in the way of the world, it's not going to turn out well for someone, the ending is so unexpected (but so right) that it's one of the few books that I have ever read that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
I've spent a lot of this year reading or re-reading John Le Carre. His books just get better and better, and A Most Wanted Man is brilliant, right on the money, timely, apt, absorbing, eminently readable and thoroughly gripping, right from the first page. Le Carre seems to respect his readership, using fabulous, flowing language, convoluted plot lines and understated 'reveals'. He allows us to work it out for ourselves. Great book by a great writer.
I've always loved Le Carre for his wordsmith's talent. Since the Cold War ended his novels have unfortunately become variable in quality but he's excelled still with the likes of A Perfect Spy, The Little Drummer Girl and the wonderful The Constant Gardener. A Most Wanted Man is as good as all these with its slow, steady pace so typical of Le Carre; the characterisations and the rising crescendo to its climax. The film is fantastic too and we've been lucky to have Philip Semour Hoffman playing Bachmann so brilliantly before his untimely death.
Some people here are ready to write le Carre off as to old, I read it a couple of years ago and found my self with a real page turner, and now I’m looking forward to the film. I think – hope John le Carre has a few books to write yet, cold war or warm he brings a feel of reality to events seldom see the light of day. ‘A Most Wanted Man’ certainly took hours from a long train journey – and kept me up another two hours before I was ready sleep.
I'm looking forwards to rediscovering Le Carre' after I happened to pick one up on a market stall. Read a few in my early twenties (long time ago). I couldn't justify buying new and so a decent used copy is a perfect win/win for me.
Shifting his sights to the intractable problems of the middle east and the often vicious relationships between Palestinians and Israelis this book is another masterpiece of intrigue and suspense mixed with not a little tragedy. I was captivated throughout even though it took a while sometimes to appreciate the significance of a particular narative. When will his next on be published?