Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client's survival becomes more important to her than her own career -- or safety. In pursuit of Issa's mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Frères, a failing British bank based in Hamburg.
Annabel, Issa and Brue form an unlikely alliance -- and a triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the "War on Terror," the rival spies of Germany, England and America converge upon the innocents.
Thrilling, compassionate, peopled with characters the reader never wants to let go, A Most Wanted Man is a work of deep humanity and uncommon relevance to our times.
©2008 John le Carre; (P)2008 Simon & Schuster
English major. Love to read
I remember John Le Carre's books not only were historically fascinating and accurate but had some oomph that kept you compelled to keep reading -- no matter what the tale. This story dragged on and on and the ending was so flimsy - as one writer said, it left things undone. The narrator is great, the story thin and ends with a whimper.
While I don't think John le Carre will ever regain the level of the George Smiley books -- that Cold War is over, and his generation is gone -- he does seem to have finally found his metier again with this book, after floundering around for some years with very inferior books like "A Constant Gardener".
The fact is that there IS another major threat to the West, and if it's not exactly a "cold" war, it's not a "hot" one either, and it is just as ideologically driven as the Communist threat was. Le Carre not only makes his Moslem protagonists seem sympathetic, he shows just how the various intelligence services are also driven by ideology: the supremacy of human intelligence vs. technological innovation, the patient researcher vs the "cowboy", the runner of agents who want to turn potential sources to his benefit against those who want to simply quarantine and neutralize the "enemy".
The narration is excellent. Very highly recommended.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
A post-9/11 Hamburg spy novel filled with all the key post-9/11 le Carré signposts: bureaucratic turf wars, moral ambiguities, innocents caught in the web of a 'war on terror', reckless acts, money, and a general loss of innocence. le Carré, with this novel, is really starting to not pull his punches with the West.
There are two broad phases of le Carré's spy novels. There are his early, cold war spy novels and his later, post-cold war spy novels. 'A Most Wanted Man' is obviously part of the later cycle, but within that cycle you've got several ('Absolute Friends', 'A Most Wanted Man', 'Our Kind of Traitor', 'A Delicate Truth') that deal specifically with the post 9/11 world of extraordinary rendition, torture, detention, etc.
It isn't a perfect novel, and unfortunately, the War on Terror made this novel fairly predictable. It isn't top shelf le Carré, but it is still fascinating, angry and worldly-wise in its ability to portray the cost and the complexities of the global War on Terror. le Carré is a master at exposing the cost to individuals, organizations, and countries of extracting the 5% bad from the 95% good. If you imperiously kill the patient just to remove the cancer, who benefits? The woman selling you the scalpel and the man digging plots.
Roger Rees' narration is marvelous. The book, though, is a disappointment. Thin, predictable, with major lapses in logic. I nearly abandoned it in the middle but persevered to the weak ending.
I expected the excellence of prose that always comes with le Carre, but was delighted (tho not surprised) at the high degree of drama and humor and tragedy delivered by Roger Rees as narrator. Highly, highly recommended!
Urbane, complex, probing, and compelling. John Le Carr? has not lost his stuff. The best spy books always make you remember why spies are necessary, even if we'd all like to pretend that they aren't real or that governments could possibly conduct all relations with foreign powers in the open.
This is an up to the minute tale that forces the listener to confront the moral dilemmas of the characters as if they were one's own. Trying to do the right thing is not always as simple as it seems. What if the right thing to do is inhumane?
I use to wait for a new Le Carre novel with anticipation of an enjoyable spy thriller, but his last couple of books seem like he is running out of steam. There is no character development in this one, and what little information the author provides makes me dislike almost everyone in the book. This is a senseless boring book that only serves to vent his wrath at the CIA and, after leading the reader through a boring and almost plotless story you are slammed into the wall with a totally unsatisfactory ending. Thank God there was a "Audible hopes you enjoyed this book" at the end or I would have sworn that I had only heard the first part and the story would continue.
Instead I was left saying "is that all there is?"
Convoluted, complicated, boring. I couldn't bring myself to care what happened to the "terrorist", he was such a whiny, ungrateful, creature, who couldn't make up his mind about anything other than imposing his will on everyone else, including his lawyer. A horrible, weak portrayal of a woman falling in love with her client, not worthy of her devotion. Skip it.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
This is a very zippy tale with many of Le Carre's common themes: the misguided hippie girl, the wise older spy who's so much better than his bureaucratic superiors, the heavy-handed idiocy of American foreign policy. There's not much more than that, but as always it's well done and all characters are expertly drawn. A Perfect Spy and Absolute Friends are better novels for me that go farther than this, but you can't go wrong with this author.
If you take out all of the "Muslims are our peaceful happy friends - Americans are evil torturing SOBs that deserve the violence they bring onto themselves" endless preachy sermonizing, this book would be about three pages long. There was zero action, zero suspense, and only 5 percent actual plot - and that 5 percent was predictable and beyond dull. Le Carre used to be able to write a semi-decent spy thriller. This one was truly an apalling waste of time.
"A Most Wanted Man" is definitely my last le Carre novel - period. Life is too short.
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