Title: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Author: John le Carré
Given its stature within the genre, my expectations for the book were high. I am pleased to say they were met. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold takes all of the glitzy romance out of the espionage game. Long gone are Bond's clever gadgets, exotic locations and supermodel lovers. Le Carré's world is gritty, grungy and a lot more real. Death, pain, betrayal and humiliation are all cold bureaucratic necessities. So are tedium, detachment and loneliness. In much the way GoodFellas did for mobsters, le Carré's novels reveal spooks to be more like your next-door neighbors than celluloid demigods. Leamas's tale is entirely believable, which is exactly why it's so terrifying.
Parallels with The Night Manager, a more recent le Carré work (review here), are really interesting. The two stories follow similar narrative patterns - a desire for revenge, the building of a cover, a complicating entanglement with a woman, etc. The basic structure is close enough that one wonders if the author deliberately created an updated, more glamorous (more Bondish?) version of his masterpiece.
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post February's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is February 23rd.