Monday, 30 April 2012

Our Kind of Traitor - John le Carre

Back in the 80s I read all the le Carre novels I could get my hands on.  Little Drummer Girl was the one that dampened my enthusiasm (can't remember why) and the dreary movie adaptations (Constant Gardener, for example) don't help.  But I read this and realised why I had liked him so much.

Le Carre is not an easy writer.  You have to work to discover the beauty of his style.  But once you've got the taste you can't resist consuming more.  Our Kind of Traitor is not a great novel - for me, it was hard to care about the young couple who are supposedly our protagonists, and I knew well before halfway how it was going to end.  Nevertheless, the Russian anti-hero and his mad wife are truly memorable characters; the professional spies are spellbinding.  This is because the Russians and the spies all have deep, complex back stories, whereas Perry and Gail are just a little too good to ring true.

I'm going to look out for more of le Carre's recent work.  His official website is here.

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