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Silverview: The Sunday Times Bestseller Kindle Edition
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'Le Carré at his finest' Mick Herron, Guardian
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the City for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But after only a couple of months into his new career, Edward, a Polish émigré, shows up at his door with a very keen interest in Julian's new enterprise and a lot of knowledge about his family history. And when a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . .
Silverview is the mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In this last complete masterwork from the greatest chronicler of our age, John le Carré asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognise it.
'The finest, wisest storyteller' Richard Osman
'A towering writer' Margaret Atwood
'A literary giant' Stephen King
"[Le Carré] was often considered one of the finest novelists, period, since World War II. It's not that he 'transcended the genre, ' as the tired saying goes; it's that he elevated the level of play... [Silverview's] sense of moral ambivalence remains exquisitely calibrated." --The New York Times Book Review
"The plot unfolds with as much cryptic cunning as a reader could want...Enjoyable throughout, written with grace, and a welcome gift from the past."" --The Wall Street Journal
"A thoroughly enjoyable book...a clarion call that slices straight to the bone, and hurts. John le Carré did not just leave the world an engaging novel, he also left us with a warning." --The Washington Post
"This is an intelligent, mournful, wry delight... a suitable end to a storied career, a low-key thriller with a brain and a conscience." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
"What a gift to have a posthumous novel by John le Carré, a writer who gave us a world of intricate spycraft, government mendacity and corrupt capitalist overlords that was as unromantic as it was immersive and transporting. Silverview is... an enjoyable coda to a unforgettable career." --Vogue
"John le Carré fans can exhale. Silverview, the master storyteller's twenty-sixth and final novel, has arrived and it's cause for celebration... Silverview is a propulsive and elegantly written tale... a fully formed thriller that provides a stinging look at the British Secret Service operating under crisis. Less labyrinthine than some of le Carré's early work, it has all the grand themes of his best novels -- love and betrayal, loyalty and morality -- fully on display." --AARP
"A well-aimed parting shot." --The New Republic
"A worthy coda...from a much-missed master." --The Economist
"One of [le Carré's] most touching and satisfying [novels] - for putting into high relief this beloved author's vision for his country and his disappointments, and perhaps most of all, the elegance and coloristic palette of his unique and incomparable prose." --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Silverview is a fine book centered on the lonely lives of spies and difficult choices they make when experience redefines the parameters of their mission for Queen and country... John Le Carré at the top of his game - smart, candid, stylish, relevant." --Valdosta Daily Times
"First-rate prose and a fascinating plot distinguish the final novel from MWA Grand Master le Carré ... This is a fitting coda to a remarkable career." --Publishers Weekly
Praise for John le Carré
"The premier spy novelist of his time. Perhaps of all time."--Time
"[Le Carré's] novels are so brilliant because they're emotionally and psychologically absolutely true."--The New York Times Book Review
"Le Carré is one of the best novelists--of any kind--we have."--Vanity Fair
"No other writer has charted--pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers--the public and secret histories of his times."--The Guardian (London)--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B094Z5YJSY
- Publisher : Penguin (14 Oct. 2021)
- Language : English
- File size : 2101 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 216 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0593490592
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,261 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
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Not far short of a year has elapsed since John Le Carré passed away in December 2020. "Silverview" is billed as the last novel that he completed during his lifetime and its publication has been eagerly anticipated by many people who admired the work of the master craftsman that Le Carré so often showed himself to be. Sadly, this is unlikely to go down as one of his best or most memorable novels, and is actually somewhat disappointing.
There are glimpses of Le Carré at his best with some tantalising wordsmithery and eloquent prose. "Silverview" also contains a number of wonderfully drawn characters with genuine depth and appeal. However, in spite of those elements and despite the fact that this is described as his final completed novel something feels amiss. It isn't simply that the book is unusually short, but there is also the sense that certain sections still feel as though they are "work in progress". The bones of the structure are there, but there is the impression that Le Carré still intended to revisit certain passages and flesh them out more fully.
We will probably never know for sure whether that was actually the case, so perhaps John Le Carré has left his readers with one final mystery and conspiracy theory to ponder over, after all.
Obviously, reviewing a book like this involves not giving away plot details, keeping secrets, as any good agent gathering information is obliged to do. But a review is also designed to let people in on a few secrets so that a potential reader can decide if this is a book for them. Or you might have already read the book and are looking to see what someone else found in it. Tricky - the secrets you keep or give away in this intelligence report.
What I will say is that I enjoyed Silverview. To me it was a study in the contradictions of belief, the meaning that people find in being passionate about something - whether that’s related to religion, politics, nationality or fighting the good fight against extreme manifestations of whatever belief people latch onto. Agents who are passionate about the rightness of their mission are highly motivated. However, that passion remains an unpredictable energy, which can easily express itself in dangerous ways. Here we have the thoughts of a Secret Service staffer, who characterises life in the Service as the avoidance of passion:
“Absolute commitment of any sort constituted to his trained mind a grave security threat. The entire ethic of the Service was utterly – he would almost say absolutely – opposed to it, unless, that is, you were talking of manipulating the absolute commitment of an agent you were running.”
As a final note, with an admitted risk to security, I will share one thought with you, which might help provide a way into the central contradiction of Silverview. Perhaps Le Carré puts his main idea into the form of a little code. It would be a similar code to that found in the name of the lovely character, Liz Gold, in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. In that book it is hard to work out where exactly constitutes the Cold, when one side uses the same ruthless tactics as the other. This confusion might be characterised by Liz Gold’s name - gold sounding so close to cold. Silverview has a character who reminded me of Liz.. She has a “nun like” devotion, representing a capacity for passionate commitment, which has ambivalent outcomes. Her name is only one letter away from ‘mania’. I will leave you to find her and come to your own conclusions.
This book brings the spy story into an age where those national struggles the Service was built to support, have themselves become a threat. It’s a fascinating and timely addition to Le Carré’s collection of work.
There is also an appropriateness about the subject matter of the story given the stage in John Le Carré’s writing career it was written. His novels have always reflected the geo-political environment of their time, and his characters have been shown practising their craft, mostly in mid-career. In “A Legacy of Spies” we saw a retrospective of past exploits from the viewpoint of retired service officers. In “Silverview” we are shown what happens in the life of a former agent once retired. “Silvervew” gives us a glimpse at the reality of the-happy-ever-after for an agent once they are no longer of use to the agency.
As always, Le Carré brings human motivation to the surface, and demonstrates the wilful blindness of organisations that can sometimes let errors of judgement slip through to cause cracks in what appears to be a totally watertight operation. He describes a situation where an organisation’s failure to care for its members’ wellbeing, and to take cognizance of an agent’s mental state, can lead to aberrant behaviour, a trait common to many organisations in every sector.
Never one to shy away from highlighting his views on the political leadership of the countries concerned, he describes the internal questioning of an intelligence agency that is serving a country ruled by a government with no coherent foreign policy, a government that is focused on its own internal political power rather than its relationship with the rest of the world.
This is an excellent read.