In Single & Single, the writer who both epitomizes and transcends the novel of espionage opens with a haunting set piece, then establishes a sequence of events whose connections are mysterious, complex, and compelling. This is a story of corrupt liaisons between criminal elements in the new Russian states and the world of legitimate finance in the West. le Carré's finest novel in years, it is also an intimate portrait of two families: one Russian, the other English; one trading illicit goods, the other laundering the profits; one betrayed by a son-in-law, the other betrayed, and redeemed, by a son.
©1999 John Le Carré; (P)1999 Hodder Headline Audiobooks, All Rights Reserved; 1999 First Simon & Schuster Edition; AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
"[Le Carré is] more than just a great storyteller. In Single & Single, he captures the Zeitgeist itself." (Tom Wolfe)
"...the finest imaginative social historian of the postwar years." (The London Times Literary Supplement)
I normally avoid abridged versions of books, but I picked this up because it was read by Le Carre himself and I thought perhaps that meant it would be OK. Le Carre is a reasonably good, if somewhat uneven reader. However, I was disappointed in the abridgement. What makes Le Carre novels great in my opinion - all the poetic detail that paints the characters and their surroundings - was missing. (I went to my paper copy of the novel to see if it was there, and it was.) Pretty much only the plot was left. It was an OK plot, but not the magical experience that full length Le Carre audio has been for me. (I highly recommend all of the full length Le Carre novels narrated by David Case/Frederick Davidson.)
Another great novel by the Dean of spycraft. For inveterate LeCarre readers, having the author read his own work makes this read infinitely more rich. This listens like an old time serial radio drama with Mr LeCarre performing all of the characters. I want to go back and read his other novels now that I've heard him speak through these characters
Enjoyed every minute of it, and superbly narrated by the author. I highly recommend if you enjoy LeCarre's carefully plotted stories and rich character paintings.
It seemed to come together all too quickly in the last quarter, almost like he felt he needed to wrap it up in time to keep a dinner date.
I loved it, up until then.
Having le Carre narrate is great, because you know the characters are coming through the way he intended them. Just a fun tightly woven drama about Western corruption and post-soviet Mafia, with le Carre's wonderful evocation of London inter-agency law enforcement. Same type of culture as in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."
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