From The Guardian Review Section on Saturday 20 April:
‘A Delicate Truth savagely dramatises the “ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information”. Toby’s minister, Fergus Quinn, is under the control of the unelected business-fixer, Jay Crispin. Half a century after the state-on-state espionage described in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, spying, in common with most other enterprises, has been privatised and opened up to defence contractors such as the shadowy Ethical Outcomes Ltd in this novel – with all the potential for massaging success rates and indulging shareholder whims that privatisation entails.
‘Le Carré has a strong claim to be the most influential living British writer. Beyond the obvious spy-writer disciples, such as Alan Furst, Alan Judd and Charles Cumming, non-generic operators including the novelists Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Michael Frayn, Sebastian Faulks and the playwrights David Hare, Tom Stoppard and Alan Bennett have all produced espionage stories that are clearly marked by his example. Even Philip Roth, who called Le Carré’s A Perfect Spy the best post-war English novel, wrote, in Operation Shylock, a book that can be considered a homage.
‘In an interview at around the time of his 75th birthday, Le Carré admitted that he feared producing in older age the sort of low-energy novellas that completed the shelf of his hero Graham Greene. But, after the disappointingly sketchy Our Kind of Traitor (2011), which relied too heavily on hectic narration, the 81-year-old Le Carré is back at full power with a book that draws on a career’s worth of literary skill and international analysis. Le Carré will almost certainly follow Greene in being denied the Nobel prize for literature, but no other writer has charted – pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers – the public and secret histories of his times, from the second world war to the “war on terror”.’