Life long compulsive reader & lover of recorded books
Le Carre's spy thrillers are never simple so I would never try to summarize this book in three words; the novel is moral tale as well as the story of political maneuvering gone awfully wrong. It is entertaining enough but far from Le Carre's best. What makes it such a treat is the unabashedly "hammy" reading by none other than the author himself.
In my experience, Le Carre's books are better read than listened too. The twists, turns and nuances of his complicated characters and plots are probably a little easier to follow when one can take them in at one's own pace. I have listened to a couple of his novels that I had previously read and always enjoyed reading rather than listening until this one.
You can tell Le Carre really enjoyed the reading. He definetly went at it with great gusto and "performed" each character, making them come alive. Le Carre is usually able to weave complicated plots and very full characters...this was definetly a character driven book and the author's reading contributed to it.
The plot was contrived but I thorougly enjoyed the experience of listening to Le Carre bringing his characters to live.
I would love to listen to some of the author's better novels (such as The Patient Gardener, Little Drummer Girl or Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy) narrated by him. He has been one of my favorite authors for many years and he could conceivably become one of my favorite narrators.
Photographer, nature & water geek, music lover, book fiend.
My mother-in-law turned me on to the works of John LeCarre more than 15 years ago, with "Smiley's People" and since that time I've read everything I could get my hands on. John LeCarre is not only a master of the spy genre, but literature itself. His prose is precise and beautiful; often times I'll find myself re-reading lines or paragraphs just to enjoy the way he phrases things so artfully. His characters and the stories they inhabit are unmatched. No punches are pulled and his works are based in a world much closer to reality than the "we're good/infallible/always heroic and justice driven" world of most fiction (and most politicians). If near-immortality is ever scientifically possible, I'm hoping LeCarre uses whatever contacts he may still maintain in the intelligence world to prolong his life (and continue writing).
The best Le Carre yet, revealing the impenetrable moral equivocations of the corporate ascendancy in politics and war. The author reads with such simplicity and depth.
A well constructed story with a totally believable plot and well developed characters.
Mostly because of the reader it reminds me a lot of my personal favourite JLC book, Absolute Friends. The plot is of course different, but the quality of the writing and the reading is almost as good.
I dont think his books translate well to film, they are much better as TV series - for example the Smiley series, probably the best TV series I have ever seen.
There is a real benefit to having an author read his own work; the intonation, vocabulary and the "sense" of the story is far better than any other approach. Le Carre is truly blessed as an excellent writer with a superb reading voice and style.
If it wasn't so predictable. And if the characters were not so cartoonish. LeCarre's first few books were wonderful, complex, and unpredictable. His last few run like this: The good guys will end badly. They will end badly after making utterly stupid mistakes that the protagonists in his first few novels would have considered incompetent. In "A Delicate Truth" the good guys, all of them, achieve nothing toward their moral and praiseworthy goal, because they act like rookies, despite their years of experience and knowledge of tradecraft.
Something not by John LeCarre.
The last half of the novel.
I used to love John LeCarre. That was when his characters, both good and evil, behaved intelligently. His last 4 novels involve characters who behave like rank amateurs. In "A Delicate Truth", the main protagonist doesn't see things coming, which a 3rd grade reader would see coming a mile away. There is never any surprise anymore in his novels. The good guys are moral. They are self-defeating. They will end up very badly. The instrument of their bad ends will be telegraphed long before the end of the novel, and reader will wonder how the protagonist could not have seen it coming, when everyone else could. Sad ending for John LeCarre. He used to be able to write fiction. Now he writes cartoons.
Would and did.
For me, the most memorable moments are when Le Carre puts you in the midst of a terrifying and crucial moment, and slows time down to the point where you can smell, hear and feel the environment in which that moment exists.
Le Carre is a SUPERB narrator. One of the best. I would always, always prefer to hear him read his own books (or anyone's book, for that matter). He has everything - a craftsman's acting talent, a beautiful voice, the gravitas and subtlety necessary to convey the material without ever overplaying it. And I have to say that he is in the peak of form here - one of his best narrating jobs, and that's saying a lot.
This book, perhaps because of the extent of the author's human experience at this stage of his life, is extremely moving on some very subtle levels, but possibly the most moving character of all is Jeb. Wonderful character. If he weren't so beautifully and honestly fleshed-out as a character, his storyline might be melodramatic. But he is sketched out with such plain truth, and in such simple lines, that he rings absolutely true and is therefore ten times more tragic.
This is, to my mind, Le Carre at his very best. I love him as an author, but some of his most recent books have not hit home for me as deeply as his some of his earlier work. With this one, he returns triumphantly in his finest form and it makes me so happy. I could not be more delighted.
Please let me exchange it. Audible advertises this service but they do not make it easy to actually accomplish this task.
le Carre shows why he's so highly regarded. I'm always concerned when a book is read by the author, but he's superb. It's hard to classify this book, but it's realism is such a relief in contrast to the exaggerated plot lines and actions too often seen in spy/thrillers.
Le Carre is a wonderful author, and I have enjoyed his books in the past. I suspect there is in fact a good story in this one, somewhere, I have just found it impossible to listen to. With the author as narrator, I expect the accents and inflections are genuine and accurate, but it strikes me as listening to an aged relative recounting a story from their youth that you've heard a hundred times before. You love them dearly, but sitting through the story makes you want to scream. I've made it through an hour or so, and can't go any further. Can't recommend it.