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Absolute Friends Paperback – November 10, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
The greatest failing of this story is that it builds so slowly and then comes to a sudden, abrupt and not very convincing end. The (evil) American operation that concludes the book is absurd and could never happen in this shape. The Americans wouldn't try it, and German authorities would never allow it. Le Carre has tried to make a point of course, but I didn't feel he made it very well.
I would, however, like to make one comment on the accusation that this book is somehow "anti-American". This is only true if any book that is critical of a specific German/French/Russian government's actions is "anti-German/French/Russian". In other words, it is not.
"Friends" traces the lives of two aging radicals, very different in their backgrounds but very much the same in their commitment to all causes counter-establishment. Ted Mundy, Pakistan-born ex-pat son of a patriotic but delusional British Army major, is barely making it in modern day Germany as a tour guide. Living with a former Turkish prostitute common law wife and her son, Mundy flirts with Islam while maintaining his British roots but, paradoxically, still showing glimpses of apologetic pride in his British heritage. The "absolute friend", Sasha, is an unrepentant and idealistic German radical for life. LeCarre takes the reader back to late-60's Berlin, where Mundy and Sasha meet as students, forging a friendship based in anti-establishment and anti-war idealism. Fast-forward a decade, where we find Mundy and Sasha drones of the very bureaucracies they once despised. Mundy serves as a British Council official dealing with cultural exchanges to Eastern Europe, while Sasha holds a position in the East German Communist regime. Disillusioned by the differences between the communism of theory and the Communism of the Soviet Bloc, Sasha begins spying on the Eastern Bloc for the west.Read more ›
At any rate, Mundy has knocked around, Asia, Europe, even America. He has been caught up in the great student unrest of the 1960s, particularly in Germany, where he had gone to study. He has made a lifelong friend of Sasha, a crippled East German leftwing activist: for many years, they've had an enjoyable, exciting, profitable game playing spy and counterspy for their respective governments. But the glory days are long gone when Sasha reenters Mundy's life, bringing the mysterious, billionaire philanthropist Dimitri with him. Will the friends make a killing or get themselves killed?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very hard going, almost gave up on it, so slow. Wondered when it was going to get interesting, had to wait until 3/4 way through. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
Like a fine wine, le Carre matures with age! A witty, well written with cracking dialogue and with all the elements of spy craft that any le Carre reader would understand. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kamiyahagi
Well written of course but I can't help thinking Mr. LeCarre is bitter about the Iraq war and has spoiled what could have been a good book.Published 2 months ago by David Delbridge
What a pleasure to read an intelligent and thoughtful commentary among the generally mindless "spy novels" filling the electronic shelves.Published 3 months ago by Jingles
Vintage LeCarre. I don't know how I missed this one, but it was great. One of his best.Published 4 months ago by John R. Kelly
Found this 2003 novel in my bookcase, unread. Reading it in 2016-- with Europe trying to stem or at least control an unprecedented stream of asylum seekers from e.g. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak
Couldn't believe that this is Le Carre. I made it halfway through and threw in the towel. Directionless, senseless, and downright boring. He's lost his touch.... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer