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Amici assoluti

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3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,235 Ratings  ·  366 Reviews
Berlino, 1969. In un clima di rivolta e di resa dei conti con il passato, l'inglese Ted Mundy salva la vita a un giovane tedesco di nome Sasha. Tra Ted e Sasha nasce "un'amicizia assoluta". Un legame più forte dei vincoli famigliari, capace di sopportare lunghe assenze e superare le più grandi prove della storia. Ted e Sasha si trovano ad agire come spie sui lati opposti d ...more
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published December 2003 by Mondadori (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Joni Dee
Apr 13, 2016 Joni Dee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you follow my reviews you know by now that i'm a le Carré fanatic ... In Absolute Friends Le Carré returns to the same formula that has worked in so many of his books, with one distinctive above all - a perfect spy. In this excellent spy thriller, we learn about the relationship between Ted and Sasha (operator-agent as well as friends) through their years old relationship as students, through their cordial correspondence, and at the end through current events.

Le Carré is demonstrating the Ame
...more
Jim
Dec 05, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Read it and weep, Robert Harris. This is how to write a spy thriller. Le Carre's strength, or one of them (and there are many) is his characterisations which, in less skilled hands, could be the ludicrous caricatures I mentioned above. He makes them believable though. As he does the situations. You really begin to believe that the world of espionage works exactly as portrayed here. His heroes tend to be offbeat misfits who can't seem to settle in a normal life and, from the novels I've read so f ...more
Susan Emmet
May 26, 2013 Susan Emmet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a "5" is too high a rating...amazing?...maybe not.
But I give it a 5 for Le Carre's tightrope walk from fiction to non-fiction. This novel rings all kinds of bells, historic and political.
And he takes 'em all on - the pseudo-liberals and conservatives, Islamist terrorists, the CIA, the British Secret Service, communists, the HUGE money corporations with hands in pies everywhere - all the stuff that was - and has - "come true" sadly, but expectedly.
Keep thinking about Eisenhower's warning ab
...more
Nicholasjordansherwood
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine
May 23, 2009 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The old spy game is taken up a notch in Le Carre’s “Absolute Friends.” Here the intrigue and spying are not merely about competing Cold War ideologies, but the friendship of two men who came of age and connected as friends amidst the radical student movement of the 1960s in West Germany. The friendship continues throughout the novel, as the friends meet and drift apart again over the years, but never lose the ultimate bond (estranged boyhoods and youthful idealism) that united them in the first ...more
Mark
Jan 22, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

Calling John le Carre a spy novelist is liking calling Shakespeare a jingle writer. Nevertheless, there was something about this book that bothered me enough to knock one star off my otherwise high regard, and I think I can discuss it without issuing a spoiler alert.

First, the basics: Ted Mundy is a Brit who almost falls into the spy trade after he renews his acquaintance with old student friend, the enigmatic and charismatic Sasha. Together, they had played street revolutionaries in Berlin in t
...more
Laura
Aug 25, 2012 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this long book on CD on a trip and, though I found it interesting enough to finish listening to it, am pretty sure that, had I read it in book form, I wouldn't have had the patience to finish it. Starting out with the appealing depiction of a British spy living happily in retirement with a Turkish woman and her son while working as a tour guide in Germany, the main character--Ted Mundy--winds up being called back into action by his old friend and fellow spy, Sasha. The flashback wh ...more
Stefan
Feb 19, 2011 Stefan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute Friends was the story of a complicated friendship spanning much of the twentieth century. The psychological depth of this friendship was reason enough to read this novel. The issues discussed, events mentioned and locations described gave me much food for thought. The intelligent, well-paced and insightful story was gripping and authentic in the way few thrillers are today . But I was most touched by the power of the story’s cynical conclusion: it forced me to soberly consider the treme ...more
Yvann S
May 22, 2011 Yvann S rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Leaving the envelope to mature for a week or two, therefore, he waits until the right number of tequilas has brought him to the right level of insouciance, and rips it open."

Ted Mundy, Pakistan-born English major's son, Germanophile and student rebel, has just about settled into mediocrity at the British Council when a trip in his guise as head of Overseas Drama and Arts (particular responsibility: Youth) becomes an exercise in secret police evasion. A figure from his past appears and he is rec
...more
Jeff
I’m going to do the same review for “The Mission Song” and “Absolute Friends” because these books have so much in common. They both show a great writer having stumbled on his own frustration at international politics. Both books are suffused with anger that does not characterize Le Carre’s other works, and this anger impedes the storytelling and changes thematic representation to Neanderthalic proselytizing. In the past Le Carre has dealt with subjects before that he finds offensive (“The Night ...more
Teressa


As a huge fan of 1984, I appreciate many of the Orwellian themes Le Carre develops here. It was also interesting to read about Iraq from the position of hindsight (Le Carre published this in 2003). I enjoyed the careful character development of both Sasha and Mundy as much as I enjoyed the author's excellent, terse prose. Really, the man is a wonderful writer!

So why did I give this a three instead of a four? Or even a five? Le Carre's anger was palpable, to the point I felt he was proselytizing.
...more
Robert Hill
Oct 08, 2010 Robert Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, I found Le Carre' quite entertaining. I often wondered what Le Carre' turned to after his Cold War thrillers. This book was great it had a surprise ending. The thesis of this thriller is that the War on Terror can be an excuse for the conservative political powers to seek out and destroy "innocent" liberals. Even though those liberals might be intellectual revolutionaries. The title comes from a friendship between two such liberal "revolutionaries". Le Carre' tracks them from before t ...more
Dexter Meyers
Jun 18, 2014 Dexter Meyers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John LeCarre could absolutely be my friend
Gerald Sinstadt
John Le Carré didn't invent the espionage novel - Eric Ambler was not least among his predecessors - but he undeniably lifted it to a new intelligent level. From The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, he went on to develop an engaging series of variations on the theme.

By 2016, with Berlin wall log ago demolished and the cold war behind us, it might be thought that the genre was played out. Absolute Friends is evidence that, in the hands of the master, much remains possible.

Edward Mundy, the son of a
...more
Edwin Lang

Absolute Friends is an espionage tale of two friends, Sasha, charismatic and impressionable, and Mundy a phlegmatic and an uprooted not-quite-complete Englishman. I did not find the story too well told, with much of it superficially about their friendship during post-War and the Cold War years ending abruptly and inconclusively after 200 or so pages with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Absolute Friends lacked the thrill that one associates with spies, and throughout there is a feeling that Mundy an
...more
Sistermagpie
Mar 12, 2012 Sistermagpie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It continues to be interesting watching Le Carre carry his world into the present, leaving the Cold War behind. I wasn't sure of the friendship between Mundy and Sasha, the pair of the title, right up until the end. This being a spy novel, I kept expecting one to betray or have betrayed the other. Instead both men are bound to the flaws that seem to haunt all spies. Ted Mundy is another interesting creation, a man with a history of shaky identities and changing locals. The one stable thing in hi ...more
Gwen
Jan 16, 2012 Gwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read other reviewers here on Goodreads before I gave my stars. Turns out they didn't change my first instinct to give it a solid four. Was hard for me to buy the (spoiler alert) probability that Mundy would take up with Sasha a THIRD time in response to his appeal to save the world having had two prior undesirable outcomes. But I could get past it in view of so many salient themes to the modern setting. I found it interesting that it was copywritten 2003, which explains all the refe ...more
Charles
Aug 15, 2012 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent & absorbing read that reviews a lot of current politics from the 60's to the present, on the background undergound world of espionage & counterespionage. The 2 central characters ( absolute friends)are Mundy who is recruited to the British secret Service, and Sasha who ends up as a double agent for the British, under the guise of working for Stasi, the East german intelligence agency, when he becomes disallusioned by the Communists whose ideals he espoused. Their collaborati ...more
Jered
Sep 03, 2010 Jered rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
After one false start I picked this novel up again and was almost immediately hooked. This is high-level entertainment beefed up with some nutritious and timely philosophical questions about national and international loyalties, responsibility to God, King, and Country, and the sometimes-fine-line between duty and righteousness. Do the means justify the ends? Does anyone even know what the "ends" are anymore? Not as crisp, terse, and razor-sharp as The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, but a truly ...more
Nick Duretta
May 23, 2011 Nick Duretta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical of Le Carre's intelligent, complex and literary spy thrillers, this novel paints a chilling picture of seemingly ordinary people caught up in an upside-down world of counter spies and counter-counter spies. The two "friends" of the title are in many ways opposites: the dwarfish, obsessive Sasha and the studious, unfocused Mundy. Their strong bond through the years is never justified convincingly. Mundy is a frustrating protagonist--he lets himself get easily carried away by any ideologue ...more
Brendan
May 03, 2009 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolute Friends is one of the most poisonously Anti-American spy novels ever written. That said, I have to say LeCarre is pretty spot on about the way the Americans were running their Intel during the Bush years.

Absolute Friends tells the story of two friends, a brit and a German who were radicals together in Berlin during the 1960s and how they subsequently got turned into spies and after serving the West heroically, they ultimately get used by a CIA type operation to invent a terrorist operat
...more
Peter
May 05, 2013 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The author's forte is espionage. This is another spy story telling the life and personal development of Teddy who becomes a spy. So, the story isn't an intrigue of plot but a study in human nature. The author's writing is striking, beautiful, masterful. He frequently stunned me with his skill, a Rembrandt of words. But, but, but, there is a cynicism about life, a morose fatalism that dragged me down. Life is just a series of coincidences and ironies. The main character never seems to be able to ...more
Justin Tonna
Jul 22, 2013 Justin Tonna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characterisation in this book is fantastic - the sheer differences between the two friends, their backgrounds and their hopes and fears are all painted in such exquisite strokes that you cannot help but turn pages.

The plot is not as twisting as some of le Carre's other books, and there are times when you can almost laugh (a rarity in his stories).

Of course, the ending is gut wrenching, leaving you with a profound hatred of soulless spy masters and government expediency. Worse, you know le
...more
Max
Jul 06, 2013 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a surprise coming from this man. .. It is very good. Maybe it's almost as good as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. .. The conclusion took me totally by surprise. Le Carre traces the lives of two anarchists from the end of WW II in Germany, through the Bader-Meinhoff era, through cold war espionage, and into the Islamic terrorism of today. The conclusion comes as such a surprise that it left me cold. This man who tends to be very knowledgeable in this area leaves us with a conclusion we ha ...more
John Devlin
I've never read Le Carre before. This is truly small ball espionage with spy craft performed far more offstage. Le Carre does an excellent job of painting scenes and giving a sense of the bureaucratic interplay. At its heart the protagonist is a blank slate that allows himself to be moved from one place and one cause to another. This is convenient bc it absolves the writer from explaining Mundy's drift through the last days of the Cold War and into the post 9/11 landscape. The ending is dark and ...more
Christine Zibas
Feb 10, 2016 Christine Zibas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The old spy game is taken up a notch in Le Carre's Absolute Friends. Here the intrigue and spying are not merely about competing Cold War ideologies, but the friendship of two men who came of age and connected as friends amidst the radical student movement of the 1960s in West Germany. The friendship continues throughout the novel, as the friends meet and drift apart again over the years, but never lose the ultimate bond (estranged boyhoods and youthful idealism) that united them in the first pl ...more
John Mchugh
Oct 02, 2015 John Mchugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I'd give it three and a half stars. Oh, maybe three and three quarters. If I read it when it came out, thirteen years ago, I certainly didn't remember much of anything about the characters or the plot. My fault, not his. The writing, as expected, is excellent and sometimes brilliant. The structure is complex, both in the arc of the story and the POV of the narrator (sometimes first person, sometimes third person - with much back and forth). There's a resplendent cast of shadowy figures ...more
Joe Cummings
Apr 13, 2015 Joe Cummings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Old friends,
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends.
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the 'round toes
On the high shoes
Of the old friends.
Paul Simon Old Friends


The song "Old Friends" was released at the end of the Sixties around the time when the two main characters in John Le Carré's 2003 novel Absolute Friends first meet in West Berlin.The two young student idealists-Ted who is a Pakistan-born son of a British expat and Sasha who is the son of a German Lutheran minister who escaped th
...more
Martin Boyle
Mar 14, 2015 Martin Boyle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Le Carré's more recent works maintain all of the dark suspense of his cold-war thrillers, but do seem to be much more politically aware. The relationship between friends and foes becomes ever finer, no one is above suspicion. Lines are blurred in a world where my enemy's enemy is so important.

And in Absolute Friends, in his usual smooth writing, you meet a bunch of wasters and see the absolute friendship grow from its starting point in anti-establishment West Berlin. The bonds grow stronger, the
...more
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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 40 years, where he owns a mile of cliff close to Land's End.

See also: John le Carré - Wikipedia
More about John le Carré...

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