A Perfect Spy: A Novel
By John le Carre List Price:
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Great book to read for this cold days and nights, and you know who is the Author, nothing to say about him, I found this book in our menu Spy Fiction books. For many funs this book is one of the best spy books from Mr. Carre, others find the arguments to cumbersome that even this great Author have difficulty to work with, Please check many of the comments from people that already had the chance to readed:
By Doug Vaughn
“This book is so much more than just another espionage thriller. It is really a character study of the central figure and a very satisfying psychological investigation into the anticedents of a spy’s character. Magnus Pym was the perfect spy because of the way he was raised; specifically, the way he learned to perceive the world as he came to understand his father – a con man of great charm (based on Le Carre’s own father) who always acted as though truth was whatever he wanted it to be at the moment. Maybe the title actually refers to the father and not to Pym. Perhaps?
Le Carre’s use of language is always a pleasure, and here it is put to excellent use in recreating the world of Pym’s past. The main plot of finding the missing Pym becomes less important than the subplots – often involving past events – and the overall structure of the novel is less driven by unknown outcomes than is a typical ‘spy’ story.
One is left with a great sense of sadness after finishing this book but no disappointment. Very original and very satisfying.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful.
Tough to get through, but rewarding in the end.
By Matthew Culbreth
Whew. It literally took me three years to read this book. I would start the book and quit reading by page 80, 90, sometimes 100. I never had the resolve to get past those first few chapters.
“A Perfect Spy” is as close to an autobiography as I think we’ll get from LeCarre. While his later “Single and Single” touched on the same things, I greatly preferred “A Perfect Spy”. It’s a much darker, much more emotionally draining novel than “Single”.
What a sad, disappointing, mesmerizing, depressing, ultimately satisfying novel LeCarre has written for us.
It’s too tough to talk about the book without giving some spoilers, so all I’ll say is that the story picks up gradually. The first bit is a bit tough, in my opinion, because of the flashbacks to the Magnus’s childhood. Keep reading. It becomes clear later why you are spending time there.
What a story. I had a previously enjoyed “Tinker, Tailor” the most of his books, but I think “A Perfect Spy” might replace that. I’m off to finish the rest of the Karla trilogy now, but I’ll always be thinking of Magnus, and how wonderfully he was written.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful.
The End Before the Beginning
It seems that nary a used book sale is complete without a copy of A Perfect Spy holding court on crowded shelves with works of obscure fiction. Having often come across it during my own browsing, I finally picked up a copy (for free) to see if I had been missing out. I intend no harm with the statement, but the book was worth the price. I now see a measure of reason behind the myriad discarded copies.
One might call this work a genre-bender as it is less a work of fictive espionage than it is a psychological profile of the protagonist, Magnus Pym. It is, at its core, an extended work in character development. At the beginning of the novel, spy Pym takes up residence in a seaside home to write his memoirs, and his disappearance causes a flurry of panic within the American and British intelligence communities. The grand majority of “the action” has already taken place, however, and is cryptically recounted in hindsight as Pym explores the influence of his father’s business shenanigans upon his own character, chosen vocation, and penchant for deception. His style is so cryptic at times, and clarification from le Carre so wanting, that the reader can easily be left behind searching for clues as to time and context. It is a task to keep one’s bearings as the narrative often shifts from past to present with little warning, while minor characters not seen for chapters surface suddenly with little hint as to where they were last seen. The name Wentworth, for example, surfaces within the first 100 pages then largely disappears for the rest of the novel until assuming a major role at the very end. There are some 150 to 160 major and minor characters in this book, some of which appear in both Pym’s reminiscing and in the narrative present. The story is an unusual one as Pym’s reminiscing seems to be preparing the reader for a more dynamic present. But by the time the reminiscing and the present intersect, the novel has ended.
John le Carre is a gifted writer and story teller, but it seems this story has proven too difficult even for even him to tell, at least in the way he has chosen to tell it. A Perfect Spy is not a poorly written book, but it can be a bewildering one — and one which seems to end just as it is getting started.
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