A most needed novel: A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré

Many authors have published responses to the war on terror. Every day seems to offer new opportunities for writers seeking inspiration from the events in Iraq, Afghanistan and on the streets in the Western world where plots are hatched and executed. Some authors even dribble all over the fascinating topic and manage to write absolute tosh.

Le Carré has also accepted the challenge, but his perspective is so original, so cleverly woven then unspooled, that it rises above all others. At times I found le Carré’s style too obfuscating and his cast of characters too complex for what is essentially a simple story. But now, having finished the novel, everything is clear. And that clarity stretches beyond plot turns to the book’s ingenuity itself.

There is just something so credible about a le Carré novel – it seems that all other spy books are just schoolboy fantasies in comparison. Le Carré crafts a story that feels real, as complex as one expects espionage and international terror plots would be, without explosions or training camps. In A Most Wanted Man the characters are part of a secretive and sensitive transaction involving money and people. Although it would not make headlines the deal captures so succinctly the mood of the this moment and – I assume – represents the type of activity that is going on across Europe and the world as security forces hone in on suspected terrorists.

Surprising, provocative and constantly enlightening, A Most Wanted Man is highly recommended.

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