Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our kind of traitor

I have just finished the latest (and perhaps last) John le Carre novel, Our Kind of Traitor. This is I think the 21st and I have read most of them. The general theme is of betrayal and since le Carre worked as a spy in the cold war period, he probably knows more about betrayal than most. I particularly liked this book because it was set in places that I am familiar with. Part is set in Paris where we enjoyed a few days break a few years ago, bringing back memories of the Rodin Museum and the department store Printemps and part is set in the Bernese Oberland reminding me of the best holiday I ever had, in Wengen in August.

le Carre is a local man with connections to Dorset and Wiltshire. I think his father had some connection to local government in Poole and he went to school at Sherborne. His writing is excellent, much more a mainstream novelist than a genre writer.

The story of this latest book is ostensibly about the Russian Mafia, but really about the corruption of the higher echelons of British society where money talks louder than morals. I think it was triggered by stories of Peter Mandelson and George Osborne seen together on the yacht of a Russian oligarch a few years ago.

The ending will be familiar to anyone who has read le Carre's other books.


Anonymous said...


You seem to read a lot. Do you speed read? I never really did that, as I like to stop and think about things I'm reading.


Terry Hamblin said...

Just at bedtime for an hour. I have always been a fast reader, but I think about it afterwards.

Dave Clarke said...

Hi, Dr Hamblin,

I read this book during one round of CHOP and a round of Rituxan while I just sitting around without anything to do. Sorry, but I thought it was a terrible read. It lacked all of what made his earlier books so readable--his wonderful use of language. The new book was a stripped-down version of his older works. There is one I have to read yet, this summer while I'm waiting for a SCT--"A Most Wanted Man". I hope it makes for good summer reading. Have you read it? Thanks!

Terry Hamblin said...

The sense of place that conjured up memories was what made it for me. Yes, I have read "A most wanted man". I thought it was excellent.