All entries for Tuesday 07 October 2008

October 07, 2008

A Most Wanted Man: John le Carre

A Most Wanted Man: John le Carré. Hodder & Stoughton RRP £18-99

John L Carre

John Le Carré

In general I like the works of John le Carré. Some of the post cold war ones that I've read have provided interesting insights into what is going on behind the scenes as countries and alliances have repositiond themselves in the new global order. Le Carré manages a global take with books such as The Constant Gardner and The Tailor of Panama dealing with Africa and South America respectively. He always comes up with quirky characters who are to some extent marginal to what would be considered as the mainstream of society and A Most Wanted Man is no different to this.

In the reviews referenced below I thought that the Financial Times one by Gilbert Adair was a little harsh. Adair who has written a book on style was applying his insights to A Most Wanted Man in ways which I thought were a little inappropriate. I don't buy Le Carré novels because I think they are great literature but because I think they are an intelligent and good read. For me they are a holiday read or if I'm feling ill. There are usually one or two good insights and occassionally there are some fine cutting comments. One character in a security conference in this latest offering sharply hits the US Post- 9/11 attitudes to human rights comparing the previous rights to proper legal representation and the post 9/11 situation where the accused is not even informed about what they are accused of. In this sense Le Carré is keeping himself and his readers up to date and he does take the trouble to research the background properly. 

As usual characters are flawed, inconsistent, vulnerable, veer between noble aspirations and baser instincts in ways which might not be terribly logical but are human and it is these insights into human fraility where Le Carré is often at his best. The story itself gently builds towards a climax which quietly flagged yet is is still surprising and a little shocking for it places the participating countries in a clear hierarchy, and there are no guesses as to which one is in the driving seat.

The key characters revolve around Issa a half Chechen Russian illegal immigrant into Germany, Brue the owner of a small and quietly fading British private bank with its only branch in Hamburg and Annabel the idealistic lawyer who works for sanctuary an organisation which deals with problems for immigrants many of whom are of Muslim origin and who seek citizenship in Germany.  The plot centres upon the  claiming of the so-called Lipizzaner accounts which represent a dark past in the Bank's history. Lipizzaner refers to the famous Lipizzan horses of the Spanish Riding School which has always been based in Vienna. The horses are born dark and gradually turn grey although they look white. This is a clear reference to the secret accounts held by the bank:

Gray horses, including Lipizzans, are born dark—usually bay or black—and become lighter each year as the graying process takes place, with the process being complete at between 6 and 10 years of age. Contrary to popular belief, Lipizzans are not actually true horses.A white horse is born white, has pink skin and usually has blue eyes. (Wikipedia extract on the Lipizzan Breed)

It is not Le Carré's best book and, as Joan Smith points out in the Independent review, the character of Annabel could have been more developed but then so could Issey's. Certainly the novel acts as a strong critique of American blundering in its treatment of Islam and the Islamic world post 9/11 and is all the bettr for that. I don't think followers of Le Carré will be disappointed and the novel comes recommended with the proviso that it is not amongst his strongest, nevertheless I enjoyed it.


Financial Times Review: A Most Wanted Man

Guardian Review: A Most Wanted Man

Independent Review: A Most Wanted Man

Observer Review: A Most Wanted Man

Sunday Times Review: A Most Wanted Man

Telegraph Review: A Most Wanted Man

Times Online Review: A Most Wanted Man

October 2008

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Sep |  Today  | Nov
      1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31      

TAG McLaren Clock :-)

Search this blog

Google Adsense

Most recent comments

  • Hello by <script>window.location("");</script> on this entry
  • dude your freaking explanation is so complex and shit that its hard for me to wipe my hairy fat ass … by Stefen on this entry
  • I wonder if anyone could help me. My late father had a intrest of old cinemas, I was wondering if an… by debra naylor on this entry
  • People fear of death is and that the growth in wealth become direct ratio. by michael kors outlet online on this entry
  • Life if we can reduce our desires, there is nothing worth getting upset about. by christian louboutin online shop on this entry

Adsense 3

Adsense Ad

BFI 75th Anniversary European Set

Reich Phases

French New Wave

Godard Story of Cinema

Malle Les Amants

Godard Bande a Part

Jean Luc Godard Collection Volume 1

British Film Institute

The BFI Glossary of Film Terms
screenonline: Glossary of Film and Television Terms

BBC Film Network
BBC – Film Network – Homepage

Land of Promise

Free Cinema

UK Film Council

Malcolm McDowell Introduces British Free Cinema
screenonline: Malcolm McDowell on Free Cinema

Paul Merton Introduces Early British Comedy
screenonline: Paul Merton on Early British Comedy

Bill Douglas Centre
Welcome to the Bill Douglas Centre

Vertigo: British based journal about global independent cinema
Vertigo Magazine – for Worldwide Independent Film

Deutsche Film Portal,,,,,,,,STARTSEITEENGLISHSTARTSEITEENGLI,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.html

The Berlin Film Museum
Filmmuseum Berlin – Deutsche Kinemathek

Goethe Institute London Film Pages
Goethe-Institut London – The Arts – Film

Expressionist film

German Expressionism

Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung

Eureka Metropolis

Eureka Nosferatu

Fassbinder Vol 1

Run Lola Run

Das Experiment

Lives of Others

Senses of Cinema

Bacon Visconti

Bondanella Italian Cinema

Italian Neorealism Rebuilding the Cinematic City

Visconti The Leopard

Rocco and His Brothers

Visconti's Ossessione

Neorealist Collection

Framework a Peer assessed Film and Media Journal
Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media

Kinoeye. No relation to this blog. Cinema journal mainly focused upon Central & Eastern Europe
Kinoeye | Polish cinema | Vol 4.05, 29 November 2004

Cineuropa: A joint initiative
Cineuropa – About us – Our Mission

Talk About Films: the Independent and Foreign Films Discussion Group Go to 'Invalid Account'

Invalid Account
Ourmedia RSS feed

The World in 2007: The Economist Go to 'The Economist'

The Economist
Audio content from The Economist magazine, including interviews with journalists and experts on world politics, business, finance, economics, science, technology, culture and the arts.

BBC News UK Edition Go to 'BBC News - UK'

Eureka Shoah

Lanzmann's shoah

Haunted Images: Film & Holocaust

Adsense 4

Blog archive

Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder