Edwin Blair's Reviews > A Perfect Spy
A Perfect Spy
Edwin Blair's review
Feb 27, 2018
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, might be his best 'spy' novel, but "A Perfect Spy" is hands down his best work. It is a masterpiece, that contains a sophisticated plot with constant twists and reversals adeptly executed, but will cause those of a malnourished attention span to quit the novel or give it a poor review with an even poorer explanation. If you were awake at the wheel, by the third chapter its obvious, that what we are reading is heavily autobiographical. Its Autobiographical very much in the spirit of & not dissimilar to Charles Dicken's David Copperfield and Great expectations. The protaganist Magnus Pym very slyly alludes to this in a passage where he is asked what kind of name is Pym, after it is mispronounced and replies with "PYM, sort of like Pip you know..." (Pip being the protaganist in 'Great Expectations'). There are overlapping tales, stories within stories, ricocheting versions of Magnus’s career. Le Carré doesn’t just stick to Magnus Pym’s discourse; he offers the point of view of Jack Brotherhood and of Pym’s "freightenly English" wife, Mary, the two in desperate search through their memories of him. Jaunty and comprehensive, le Carré plays with time and space, recounting Magnus’s life as son, lover, husband, embassy social lion, and spy. Its a great story elegantly written, filled with le Carre's uncanny insights and understanding of human nature. He offers us his unique perspective on life, but one so persuasive that we begin to see things from his riply and world-weary perspective. Philip Roth didnt call it the best novel since the war in frivolity, and genius master director Stanley Kubrick desperately wanted to direct the film adaptation for a reason. A film I have no doubt would've been another Kubrick masterpiece. Why, because yes A Perfect Spy IS that good.
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