Darwin8u's Reviews > A Perfect Spy

A Perfect Spy by John le Carré
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2013

“Sometimes we have to do a thing in order to find out the reason for it. Sometimes our actions are questions, not answers.”
― John le Carré, A Perfect Spy

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Remembrances of loyalties past. In some of le Carré's novels you feel haunted by the ghosts of Conrad, Greene, Nabokov, etc. In 'The Perfect Spy', I went back and forth about whether le Carré was building this novel to be Dickensian spy novel or a Proustian spy novel.

I still haven't quite figured it out. All I know is that it worked. It was brilliant. It was harassed 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 an ode to Dickens and Proust?

'A Perfect Spy' is a novel about deception (but what spy novel isn't about deception?), memory, love and loyalty. It is a story about the sins of fathers and the absolutions of sons. It is about a character who is on the run without ever leaving a room; a room filled with hidden cabinets, burn boxes, and years and years of secrets and conflict; a room that holds a perfect spy who is running from his past, running from his present, and running from his future.

I've said this before, but I don't ever get tired of preaching it: le Carré is a novelist that WILL be read in 100 years and perhaps in 500 years because he is absolutely tapped into the global zeitgeist of the modern man and the modern nation-state. Le Carré has his finger on the pulse of what we NEED to believe, what we YEARN to believe. He has a story to tell and a map of our often hidden realities.

Le Carré's has baked a madeleine that we eventually all must choke on, because we all eventually get to that point where we refuse to swallow anymore shit.
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Reading Progress

October 16, 2011 – Shelved
April 2, 2013 – Started Reading
April 3, 2013 –
page 15
2.47%
April 12, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
April 12, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson I saw "The Night Manager". I loved it. Great review! :)


Darwin8u Thanks. I am waiting to see NM until I read it.


Warwick le Carré is a novelist that WILL be read in 100 years and perhaps in 500 years because he is absolutely tapped into the global zeitgeist of the modern man and the modern nation-state.

Yes – and because he writes such great sentences. I agree with you there, although for some reason I didn't find this novel one of his best.


Darwin8u Warwick wrote: "le Carré is a novelist that WILL be read in 100 years and perhaps in 500 years because he is absolutely tapped into the global zeitgeist of the modern man and the modern nation-state.

Yes – and be..."


I go back and forth with A Perfect Spy (about if it belongs on the tops shelf or not). I think it is his most autobiographical and always intrigues me with his daddy issues, etc.


message 5: by Julie (new)

Julie No one told me I might be haunted by the ghost of Greene here. I would have added it sooner!


Darwin8u Julie wrote: "No one told me I might be haunted by the ghost of Greene here. I would have added it sooner!"

Le Carre is amazing. Have you read none of his books?


message 7: by Julie (new)

Julie None! Strange, and shocking for me. I promise, this summer!


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