John le Carré: The author's official website

New wave of American Reviews

The reviews from ‘USA Today’, ‘The Washington Post’ and ‘The New Republic’ have all been published. The book’s American release was 12th October.

Dennis Drabelle from The Washington post says:

‘No shortcuts for John le Carré. The acknowledgments at the end of his splendid new novel indicate that in writing it he consulted experts on the Russian mafia, the Mumbai stock market, tennis, Swiss geography and several other topics. The guidance he received, combined with his longstanding knowledge of spycraft and the British Secret Service, makes for a tale that rings with authenticity at every stage.

‘Le Carré supplies credible backgrounds and motives for all five main characters. Luke in particular exerts a complex appeal. His disgrace stems from his folly in sleeping with the boss’s wife at his last overseas posting. Luke loves his own wife, wants to do well by his son, but has a habit of falling in love with attractive women, who tend to return the favor. Since Gail is a knockout, Luke must patrol his own libido while balancing Dima’s demands against Britain’s needs.

‘With so many other le Carré novels to compare this one with, one hesitates to give it a ranking. But if we narrow the time frame and widen the scope, I have no hesitation in saying this: If a better thriller than “Our Kind of Traitor” has been published this year, I’d like to see it.’

Read the full article here

Todd Gitlin from The New Republic says:

‘It is not altogether surprising—but it is good news for literature nonetheless—that le Carré’s flair for the gut-wrenching drama of betrayed honor has survived as handily as Moscow’s nomenklatura-oligarch complex. Soviet Communism may have been swept into the septic tank of history, but “dark forces” have the run of East and West alike. Russian ruthlessness remains a given, and criminal rackets—some incorporated, some not—now arrange the double and triple crosses. There are still apparatchiks who try to disentangle themselves from their wicked organizations. They are still at risk when they try to take refuge with their putative allies on the other side of the looking glass— who have, as it turns out, permanent interests of their own.

‘Le Carré is in excellent form with his latest variation of the formula. It is hard to spell out the particulars of his new novel without spoiling the surprises, including the micro-surprises coiled within the macro ones. Plot summary is worse than a bore—it amounts to theft of a reader’s experience. Suffice it to say that some of the good guys are so hard to distinguish from the bad guys in his new thriller that this reader was left with a sublime chill. Don’t jump ahead, but the last page of the book purports to reprint an Observer article of last December on the role of very dirty money in bailing out the global financial system during the recent unpleasantness. Our Kind of Traitor being fiction, I wasn’t positive what to make of this piece, so I checked. The piece is for real.

‘Le Carré has been accused of moral equivalence, but in truth he is doggedly if astringently romantic. He thinks that vicious crooks who aim to cleanse themselves deserve protection. He thinks it ought to be possible for innocents to come out somewhat unscathed—that is to say, only somewhat scathed—as they fend off the most villainous of villains. He is professionally interested in how hard it is to clean dirty hands, and his sympathies are always with those who make the effort, even if they are doomed. Le Carré’s world of moles, traitors, and stacked decks, however subterranean, is in the end sharp-edged. Betrayals may be delicious for readers, but le Carré is not taken in.’

Read the full article here

And in ‘USA Today’, Carol Memmott says:

‘Just listing his books showcases le Carré’s enthusiasm for rattling institutional cages — and entertaining us — with a ripping good story steeped in ugly truths’

Read the full article here