Will Byrnes's Reviews > A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré
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's review
Aug 27, 09

bookshelves: mystery-and-spy-fiction, terrorism
Read in August, 2009

A young Muslim man or uncertain origin, scarred from extensive torture, finds his way into Hamburg and inquires into a large account, set up by his father, held in a private bank. A middle-aged banker reawakens to the existence of certain “special” accounts set up during the cold war by people of questionable repute stowing ill-gotten money. An idealistic young lawyer tries to see that her client, the Muslim, is able to fulfill his financial desires. Le Carre walks us through the details of how sundry intelligence agencies might exploit a delicate situation for their own purposes, seeing it through their individual lenses. The reality almost ceases to have meaning in the face of political demands. He takes us into the minds of the principals and shows step by step how people of strong moral fiber can be used to a dark purpose. And how honesty can be turned into a tool of betrayal. There is a larger political context here, the War on Terror, and Le Carre raises questions about how to balance what good people do in the world against the bad. It is no Tinker Tailor, but this is an intriguing, thoughtful work, a grownup look at a sometimes childish worldview.
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08/26/2009 page 180

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