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Our Kind of Traitor

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  4,975 ratings  ·  777 reviews
Britain is in the depths of recession. A left-leaning young Oxford academic and his barrister girlfriend take an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who wants a game of tennis. What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey.
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published 2010 by Viking
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Maybe 3.5 stars. I liked it more than I was prepared to. Reminded me in a lot of ways of Single & Single. It was a tight morality tale in a world lacking morality. Like most of le Carré's post-Soviet/post-Cold War spy novels the real play here is not East v West, THAT is just a side show, the real conflict is ALL internal. William Faulkner's famous quote from his Nobel Prize speech that "the human heart in conflict with itself" is the only thing worth writing about, regardless of the genre" ...more
This novel marks a return of sorts for le Carré. Firstly, it's a return to the topic of Russia, something that has been absent from the last few books he has written. It's also a return to his highly-stylized narrative, his great dialog, and decent characterization, all of which were absent from his previous novel, "A Most Wanted Man". However, what remains is still what I call an 'activist novel', which is pretty much what le Carré's last five novels have all been about. But this time it has be ...more
Aug 27, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ivan Lendl
Perry and Gail, a 20-something professional couple, are vacationing in Antigua when they are forcefully befriended by a money-laundering Russian mobster, Dima, and his extended entourage. Dima wants asylum in Britain for himself and his family in exchange for evidence incriminating his co-conspirators in European high society and the British parliament. Perry and Gail take their story to the British Secret Service, who improbably put them to work getting the issue resolved.

The problem with the n
The latest novel by John le Carre is getting positive reviews all over the place with sentiments exclaiming that the old le Carre is back and that he has dropped the preaching tone of his last few efforts. Personally, I like it when he preaches to us about the ills of our modern world.

In Our Kind of Traitor, I felt the master of spy literature was holding back just a tad and I purely hated the way this novel ended. I just felt lost through much of the story, but that could be because I do not u
Well this doesn’t just seem to be ‘The Worst Novel Le Carré Has Ever Written’, it actually jumps up and down and demands the title.

It’s odd that an author who has spent half a century writing suspenseful and intelligent thrillers, should now produce one so lacking in suspense or interest. Certainly it seems unusual that when the author returns to what once was his pet subject – machinations concerning Russia – he should create a work so lacking in insight or depth. But more than that, it’s baffl
I usually enjoy about 2 out of 3 of Le Carre's novels. I loved the Constant Gardener (and the film is just as good as the book). Our Kind of Traitor is a little slow to start and I almost abandoned it (as I did with Mission Song) but kept going and then hit that miraculous place in a good book where things just start to "click" and then settled in for a great read.

Le Carre is not in a good mood. He is not hopeful. Which is not to say that there are no more heroes in Le Carre’s world because tha
If it were possible I would have given this book 1/2 a star. It was that bad.

Like everyone else on here I have my favourite authors who I know that once I open their books, I will be entertained from start to finish. I do however try to broaden my horizons and try books by authors that maybe I've previously shied away from. I did this with both Andy McNab and Chris Ryan and have been plesantly surprised and still continue to read books by these authors.

Unfortunately this book had absolutely noth
If you're a Russian godfather who wants to spill evil
banking beans involving the west, do you just snaffle
a cute UK couple on holiday in Antigua and grunt, "Take
me to your leader" ?

LeC moves briskly fr the Cold War to the Russ mafia and
corrupt banking, suggested by news stories. Very good.
Then, damnit, the way he drawls his story -- exposition,
Talking Heds, fractured sequence, past/present tense --
is downright deadly.

Meantime, we'd all like to know his theories on the young
UK spy found dead at h
This was the first John le Carre book which I have picked up in a while. It came with high literary acclaim, and so I was quite looking forward to reading it. Sadly I was quite disappointed with it, there was no real sense of suspense, and it seemed quite laboured and ponderous, not the le Carre books I remember of old.
A professional couple from England, Perry and Gail, are on a tennis holiday in Antigua, when they are forcibly befriended by Dima. He is a Russian money launderer for the Vory, bu
This was my first spy thriller novel by this author. It was SO hard for me to get into it. I was confused about who was talking, the first person/third person switching made me crazy. This type of writing works for some people, it's just not my style.
I received this as an advance uncorrected proof that I won in a Goodreads giveaway.
I've never read any of John le Carre's novels but from what I've seen reviews of, this isn't even his best. So to say that it makes me want to read more of his work is a testament to the novel.

Gail and Perry, a lawyer and a teacher, decide to take a romantic trip to Antigua. There they meet a man named Dima and his family. In no time at all, they find themselves buried in international secrets and dealing with the Service. How much can two non-spies help?

The novel is written in an odd way. In so
John le Carré, ein Name der für spannende Agenten- und Spionagethriller steht - mit dieser Erwartungshaltung machte ich mich an sein neuestes Werk. Ich las und las, amüsierte mich prächtig und ertappte mich dennoch dabei, immer oberflächlicher über den Text hinwegzugehen, bis ich bei Seite 202 (ca. der Hälfte) das Buch resigniert zuschlug. Denn von Spannung - keine Spur. Welch eine Enttäuschung!
Doch ich hatte mich selbst in die Irre geführt, denn bei genauem Hinschauen ist (außer bei der Einord
Jay Connor
Not since Graham Green's "Our Man in Havana" has an author, here John le Carre, had such literate, yet tongue-in-cheek, fun with an accidental spy.

Perry and his girlfriend, Gail, are approached by Dima, a money laundering Russian of international proportions, who is seeking asylum in Great Britian. In the course of their becoming pawns to the machinations of several spy agencies, as well as the Russian mafia, we discover how we too are, in many ways, pawns in a global world financial order whe
Mal Warwick
David John Moore Cornwell--the man the world has come to know as John le Carre--was the son of a con man and a mother he met only at age 21. He spent years in the 1950s and 1960s working for MI5 and MI6 in the most difficult years of the Cold War. His frequently troubled life experiences afforded him the real-world experience that lent such authenticity and depth to the Cold War espionage novels he wrote so ably in the decades to come.

Le Carre's conflicted alter ego, George Smiley, the protagoni
This is spy novel, John leCarre is a professional of this type of novel and knows what he's talking about. This is not James Bond with sophisticated gadgets, technology is minimal which leaves room for the development of the plot and of the characters involved. A young couple (Gail and Perry) vacationing in Antigua meets a Russian oligarch (Dima) who chooses them as his intermediaries between the British secret services (and appoints them as referees of the fairness of the negotiations) and hims ...more
William Breakstone

Our Kind of Hero by John le Carre

Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, November 16, 2010

The English author John le Carre has written 22 novels, the first being Call for the Dead, published in 1961. I have read and enjoyed every one. He is one of those authors I just can’t get enough of.

His latest work is Our Kind of Hero, and has been critically acclaimed as one of his best. I don’t know if I would go that far, but it is a tremendously good read.

The story opens at a Caribbean island resort, wh
James Schubring
There is always more potential in a John le Carre novel than in anyone else writing books. There is also, almost always, some experimental flaw that's bigger than anyone else's. I've learned to take the good and ignore the bad. He writes bigger books than almost anyone else, enthralling even when they're flawed.

Here we have the recruitment of a moneyman from the Russian mafia by the British Secret Service. Dima, 'our kind of traitor,' is the most interesting, wound-up, larger-than-life, nervy ch
Joe Ollinger
LeCarre tends to write slower, more cerebral stuff, and this is no exception. This is a more of a drama set in the world of espionage than a spy thriller. The characters are vivid and the world feels quite real. The downside of this is that the book spends a lot of time on mundane details of character, and the premise and plot are more believable than fun.

The work splits its narrative into the perspectives of several characters, working through their thoughts ind feelings in much detail. This bo
Bookmarks Magazine
Much to the dismay of many longtime fans, le Carré chose to keep up with the times after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet, despite his shift from Cold War-era espionage to more contemporary themes, le Carré's signature stark prose, pitch-perfect dialogue, authentic characters, and moral indignation have stood the test of time. The critics were pleased to see "the master" (Telegraph) back in action, but some had reservations: While the Guardian lamented the "long, fussily narrated opening," ...more
Not at the level of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold or the Smiley series, but still, very very good, and better than most of the stuff that le Carre has written since the end of the cold war.

What's great about it? His effortless plotting and his thorough knowledge of the amorality of the world's politics. It was a thrilling read. I devoured it over a period of two days, and was sorry when it came to an end.

For my taste, there were too many pages of slangy conversation as exposition, and not
John Tipper
Aug 10, 2014 John Tipper rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, particularly thriller/spy readers
Recommended to John by: Local library's reviews.
le Carre's "Our Kind of Traitor" focuses on a young English couple vacationing in Antiqua, where they meet a Russian billionaire, who is an avid tennis player, just as the Englishman is. Dima, the Russian, arranges informal matches with the Englishman, who defeats him. During private parties, the Russian unburdens himself to the English sportsman. He wants his children to attend nice British schools, and he desires to retire from his lifestyle: it turns out he has made his fortune from being a m ...more
For me at least, I think the problem was that it lacked verisimilitude. I'm sure John le Carre has forgotten more about the inner workings of the intelligence services than I will ever know, although at nearly 80, I wonder if he is quite as up to speed on how (and to some extent, if) MI6 go about infiltrating Russian crime groups as he was on the Cold War.

I just couldn't believe that MI6 would recruit someone solely on the basis that he had had a chance meeting with a Russian vory/oligarch whil
Delicious. Sparse of word / expansive in description. Just enough for our imaginations to fill in the blanks. This is Le Carre as he is currently; simple meeting, throw in the innocents, spice 'em up with some training, shake things up
I think le Carre was having a lot of fun writing this story, reliving his classic "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" scenario, and re-inventing himself from the cold war to the financial war that seems to be raging under our "bread and circuses" blinded noses.

Dima, a shadowy Russian billionnaire, is a one-man clearing house for all the dirty money in the world. And yet he loves his family and is seeking safe refuge for them in exchange for spilling the beans on all the corrupt politicians and b
Paul Harris
Well, it just wasn't meant to be. I've only fairly recently started reading John le Carré's books - I really loved The Spy Who Came in From The Cold (a five star read for me) and also enjoyed Call For The Dead - the first in the George Smiley series. I've since added several others that look good to the wishlist, including the new one that just came out A Delicate Truth, as well as picking up the odd charity shop bargain like The Little Drummer Girl. So it was with some confidence that I checked ...more
Jim Leffert
After several disappointing (unsubtle, overly moralistic) novels in recent years, le Carré is back in fine form with Our Kind of Traitor. A Russian money launderer approaches a young British couple on vacation in Antigua, and seeks their aid in convincing British authorities to rescue him from Russian mobsters. In return, he offers to reveal detailed information about prominent British figures’ collaboration with the mobsters in a plan to gain a charter to open a huge bank in Britain. With the y ...more
Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré is a novel about a Russian money-launderer (Dima) who seeks the help of a friendly British couple (Perry and Gail) when they meet on the island of Antigua. Dima's need: to reach British intelligence and defect, not from the USSR, but from the Russian mafia he is fatally associated with.

Perry is a dissatisfied academic; Gail is a rising barrister. Neither of them is connected to British intelligence, but Perry hazards a guess that an Oxford associate might be
Aaron Poorman
John le Carre is considered one of the true heavy-weights of the spy thriller genre. His novels The Constant Gardner, Smiley's People, and The Little Drummer Girl have earned him this rep. I've yet to read much of le Carre, but I do believe that each of those previous three found their way to 1001 books list - which certainly says something. Having little to use the way of comparison it is tough for me to place this book in terms of his others though honestly, and somewhat unfortunately I can te ...more
Apr 12, 2011 CD rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: LeCarre' fans

See Perry run.
See Gail run.

See Perry and Gail betrayed

Not at all Fun with Dick and Jane! A self referencing primer instead to a new world of treacherous governmental and modern international political intrigue. Russians, Swiss, English, French, and multitude of other nationalities add their flavor to this negotiation of inevitable deceit and duplicity.

John LeCarre tells a small tale full of a variety of his signature intricacies and subtle foreshadowing of amateurs sucked into their very own
Michael Graeme
If what you know of the world comes from newspapers, or from the T.V. news, then your view is naive, selective, abridged and childish. If you have any mature sense at all then I think you appreciate this may be true.

All right - so, I'm naive and childish,... hopelessly so. It's the only way I can go on living in my personally simplified version of reality. Reading Le Carre though connects me with another, darker, reality, one I fear might be closer to the truth, whether it's "cold war", or whate
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John le Carré, the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell (born 19 October 1931 in Poole, Dorset, England), is an English author of espionage novels. Le Carré has resided in St Buryan, Cornwall, Great Britain, for more than forty years where he owns a mile of cliff close to Land's End.
More about John le Carré...
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy The Spy Who Came In from the Cold Smiley's People The Russia House The Constant Gardener

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“It struck him as a bit unfair that, at the age of eight, he should have manifested the same sense of solitude that haunted him at forty-three.” 7 likes
“I've studied the disease, I've lived in the swamp. It is my informed conclusion that we are suffering, as an ex-great nation, from top-down corporate rot. And that's not just the judgement of an ailing old fart. A lot of people in my Service make a profession of not seeing things in black and white. Do not confuse me with them. I'm a late-onset, red-toothed radical with balls. Still with me?” 4 likes
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