Our Kind of Traitor

Our Kind of Traitor - John le Carré Loved this one. My only other Le Carré to date is "Spy Who Came Into the Cold", which it took me a while to settle into, until I realized that no-one (including the narrative voice) was to be trusted. In this one, we are given a pair of outsiders, not unsophisticated but definitely naive, as our way in to the desperately tricky and ultimately depressing world of the spy and the international-financial-criminal-getting-out. The true villains of the piece hang around the fringes of the scenes (and there are some vividly painted ones, including a Federer match at the French Open!), and seem only to be almost humorous caricatures. But, we are given to understand, they exert their overweening influence at the end, and people we have grown to understand and like die, in an 'unexplained' plane crash. All the plotting and spying skill that we have been avidly following, suddenly counts as nothing in the face of the greed of the powerful. Placed up against these sinister goings-on, as if to make the cynicism even more painful, are the ordinary human emotions, mostly expressed through Gail, the female half of our surrogate couple - concern for children (and a possibly pregnant teenager).

Le Carré doesn't let you off the hook with easy happy-ever-afters - but the journey was intensely interesting and full of little smiles and very good writing.