Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend - and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father's death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus?
In A Perfect Spy, John le Carré has crafted one of his crowning masterpieces, interweaving a moving and unusual coming-of-age story with a morally tangled chronicle of modern espionage.
With an Introduction by the Author
©1986 David Cornwall (P)2012 Penguin Audio
"Le Carré's best book, and one of the finest English novels of the 20th century." (Philip Pullman)
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
In some of le Carré's novels you feel haunted by the ghosts of Conrad, Greene, Nabokov, etc. In 'The Perfect Spy', I went back and forth about whether le Carré was building this novel to be Dickensian spy novel or a Proustian spy novel.
I still haven't quite figured it out. All I know is that it worked; it was brilliant. It was beset by elements of Proust, Dickens, le Carré's own father, and le Carré himself. In a story about multiple fathers, why can't it be both an ode to Dickens and Proust?
'A Perfect Spy' is a novel about deception (but what spy novel isn't about deception?), memory, love and loyalty. It is a story about the sins of fathers and the absolutions of sons. It is about a character who is on the run without ever leaving a room; a room filled with hidden cabinets, burn boxes, and years and years of secrets and conflict; a room that holds a perfect spy who is running from his past, running from his present, and running from his future.
I've said this before, but I don't ever get tired of preaching it: le Carré is a novelist that WILL be read in 100 years and perhaps in 500 years because he is absolutely tapped into the global zeitgeist of the modern man and the modern nation-state. Le Carré has his finger on the pulse of what we NEED to believe, what we YEARN to believe. He has a story to tell and a map of our often hidden realities.
Le Carré's has baked a madeleine that we eventually all must choke on, because we all eventually get to that point where we refuse to swallow anymore sh!t.
A great, intricate, psychologically sophisticated story beautifully performed., The reader nailed the various European accents and English class accents. The story is very artfully told and structured.
This may be LeCarre's finest novel. Initially, it may strike listeners as a bit confusing, because of the shifting time sequences and the two different narrators, but the apparent confusion is sorted pretty quickly. Both writing and performance are brilliant. That the performance is 17 hours long is a wonderful bonus.
It took me 3 false starts to get past the first 5 chapters of this book. Once I made it that far paying attention, however, it all began falling into place. Like all good literature, it requires your attention and patience, but this one's well worth the effort.
I really enjoyed every other Le Carre novel I've read, but 3 hours into this one I still had no sense of who anyone was or the point of any of it.
I had difficulty getting through and have not finished it yet. I listen to audiobooks while driving, so I need stories that keep my attention - humor, drama, thrillers - but this was too slow for me. I've enjoyed all the other le Carre books I've read (just 4 from the Smiley series) so I expected more of the same. Perhaps I should have read the description and reviews better, because a lengthy and detailed account of a man's childhood did not interest me. I'll probably try it again in the future.
sadly i'm with the minority who find the endless back-and-forth of the past and present tiresome beyond my own endurance, the narcissistic autobiographical aspect of page after page after page, meandering about with clever phraseology leading to nowhere or perhaps at a snail's pace to a later point in the book that i will never reach. if i want this sort of literature, i'll go to ulysses. i go to le carre for expertly done spy thrillers, no more no less. i was on a roll with the other superb readings by jayston, until i ran into this clothesline.
It was not a story about a spy, but a story about how a kid grew up
I am going to have to pay more attention to what I am buying
I am tired of narrators from England, or with a British accent
I stopped listening to the story. I couldn't complete the 2nd part download and never tried the third.
I performed the steps to return this book, yet it is in my library and I do not have my credit returned to me. It has been over a week now.
Report Inappropriate Content