Kay's Reviews > The Tailor of Panama

The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré
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Aug 01, 07

bookshelves: british_lit, espionage, fiction
Read in March, 1999

I probably picked the wrong book to read as my first Le Carré spy novel, as I'm know there are many "classic" Le Carré novels that are probably more representative, but I still enjoyed this book quite a bit. I knew to expect moral complexities, of course, and a slightly jaundiced and world-weary outlook. Obviously, Le Carré is working in the tradition of Graham Greene here.

What I hadn't expected, though, was how mordantly funny Le Carré can be, not in an overt but in a subtle way. There's satirical cleverness, too, in the tale of the tailor who creates a non-existent left-wing conspiracy in order to placate his spymasters. (And who can help but think of some of the nonexistent WMD-type threats in Iraq, in retrospect, and wonder whether there were some "tailors" at work there, too?)

This book is a far cry from the sort of exotic James Bond thriller that attracts many to the genre, but for the reader who enjoys a more slowly paced tale that revolves around the complexities of human nature, this is a satisfying read.
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