A Perfect Spy
John le Carre's classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge, and have earned him unprecedented worldwide acclaim.
Magnus Pym, Britain's premier spy, has vanishedsending intelligence communities on a frenzied international manhunt. As the search plays out, so does a chain of cland...more
That's not to say that it's a better spy novel than Tinker Tailor or The Spy Who Came in From the Cold; it's not. If spycraft is what you crave, it's here, but it definitely takes a back seat to everything else. In A Perfect Spy, Le Carre's writing rises easily to the level of the 20th Century's greatest authors.
After the death of his father, Magnus Pym, debo...more
John Le Carre has written a book which condenses the full weight of modernity’s existential crisis into what a...more
The narrative time from the first action of the novel to its last may be something less than a month, but the lives it recounts cover some sixty complicated years. As the "perfect spy" ironically and compulsively, angrily and lovingly, pens a series of biograp...more
Magnus Pym, intelligence agent for the British, has gone to London after the news of his father Rick's death. He is supposed to return to Vienna, where he and his wife Mary are currently stationed, but instead he sends his luggage on ho...more
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...more
One of le Carré's non-Smiley novels, A Perfect Spy is far more about the psychological pressures which create a secret agent than about the mechanics of spying itself. It is part of le Carré's move away from writing genre thrillers that really began with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Magnus Pym is quite a senior operational officer, who has been running networks of British spies in Czechoslovakia for many years. After the death of his father Ric...more
The Sunday Times reviewer calls this 'a perfect work of fiction' and le Carre's masterpiece. I can't disagree. This is a fantastic read - a real page turner, intelligently written and often very funny. I'm a fan of JleC's anyway but I'm now in awe of his artistry and expertise in reeling in and hooking his readers. It's not often these days that I struggle to put a book down. My only regret is that I've finished it and will find it a hard act to follow for the depth of the main characters, for i...more
The story revolves around the life and times of Britis...more
Magnus Pym is always wanting to believe in something and is often wrong. He betrays the people and things most able to help him to the people who are just using him. The pro...more
The book's metaphors (shared with his other works) are also just right. The spy as "close observer" is the reader--as the very same. The spy as double-agent, as betrayer, is the inverter of love, the man in the mirr...more
You see, what I like about Le Carre is the total lack of James Bond cool factor. Like the Looking Glass War, this will just leave you speechless. Wonderful BBC production as usual. If you have seen Law and Order UK, Harriet Walker is part of this cast.
When you have read about the book, and s...more
My question at the end was this: how did he become who he was? First thoug...more
The switching of perspective,location and time can at times be a little confusing but once you get accustomed to it,it is manageable. All in all a r...more
The bad news? Apparently to be the perfect spy, you need to have a trickster father and grow up in Britain, so I'm thinking my odds are getting longer still.
Seriously -- the central question of identity is excellent, perhaps even forward-thinking, and more than just a thriller, it really does turn the knife on the question of what, exactly, makes us...more
I started it as an audiobook, on a long drive, and the...more
An old cliche, but even I found myself - whilst reading this book alone on a train from Sydney to Newcastle (circa 1988)- deciding that I was henceforth, or at least for the duration of the journey, to be a 'Mr. Cambridge' and invent a persona for this character of mine so that engaging in idle conversation on the train I could be someone completely different . . . and no-one would even guess!...more