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A Delicate Truth: A Novel Kindle Edition
“At the moment a new generation is stumbling upon his work, le Carré is still writing at something close to the top of his game…. [A Delicate Truth] is an elegant yet embittered indictment of extraordinary rendition, American right-wing evangelical excess and the corporatization of warfare. It has a gently flickering love story and jangling ending. And le Carré has not lost his ability to sketch, in a line or two, an entire character.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times Magazine (front page)
“The narrative dominoes fall with masterly precision....As ever, le Carré’s prose is fluid, carrying the reader toward an inevitable yet nail-biting climax.”—Olen Steinhauer, The New York Times Book Review
“Timelier than ever.”—The New York Times
“Well-wrought….A sharply sketched gallery of characters.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Le Carré is fiercely modern…a confluence of styles, voices, approaches….A novel that beckons us beyond any and all expectations.”—Washington Post
“[L]e Carré is...at full power with a book that draws on a career’s worth of literary skill and international analysis. No other writer has charted—pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers—the public and secret histories of his times.”—The Guardian (UK)
“Gorgeous writing. It’s sophisticated storytelling at its very best.”—USA Today
“A ripping, fun yarn.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Loyalty to the crown is tested; consciences are checked; and nothing is more terrifying than, as this novel’s protagonist puts it, ‘a solitary decider’ asking himself how on earth he talked himself into this mess.”—The Daily Beast
“A remarkably assured touch…. [Le Carré] has maintained full control of his prodigious literary talents.”—SF Gate
“The dirty deeds are brutal and crude. And so is the cover-up.”—The Huffington Post
“Heady and absorbing....John le Carré remains in full command of both the craft of writing and the art of espionage.”—Christian Science Monitor
“Le Carré further establishes himself as a master of a new, shockingly realistic kind of noir.”—Booklist (Starred)
“This is a guaranteed hair-raising cerebral fright, especially for anyone who enjoyed Robert Harris’s The Ghost or who just knows his or her email account has been hacked.”—Library Journal (Starred)
“Le Carré focuses on the moral rot and creeping terror barely concealed by the affable old-boy blather that marks the pillars of the intelligence community.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred)
“A great story in sterling prose.”—Publishers Weekly
“Le Carré proves himself a master of character development.”—The Millions
“Another breathtakingly good work…. [the] story hurtles along with the speed of light.”—Newsday
“The upper register of a great writer’s oeuvre. Knowledge is not power in the novel: John le Carré believes that truth, difficult and generous on its own, can also kill you.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Characteristically clever.”—The Kansas City Star
“Stylish, taut storytelling….One of our finest writers.”—Tampa Bay Times
“Witty as it is insightful….A Delicate Truth is a delightful read that unnerves as it entertains.”—The Columbus Dispatch
“The master storyteller, le Carré, is still at war. His foes now are legion. But his battles, and his novels, are flooded with light and hope. He pins his faith, and that of his readers, on the fundamental decency of those most vulnerable and quirky of warriors – the average joes.”—OregonLive.com
“Vintage le Carré.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A career’s worth of literary skill and international analysis…..No other writer has chartered…the public and secret history of his times.”—The Guardian (UK)
“Remarkable….[A Delicate Truth] displays the mastery of the early and the passion of late Le Carré.”—Robert McCrum, The Observer (UK)
“Writing of such quality that…it will be read in one hundred years….[Le Carré] found his canvas in espionage, as Dickens did in other worlds. The two men deserve comparison.”—Daily Mail (UK)
“The tension ratchets up superbly as revelation follows on revelation….[Le Carré] is a writer of towering gifts, whose fiction appeals to a reading public both popular and serious….A talent to provoke as well as unsettle.”—The Independent (UK)
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B00BC24NT4
- Publisher : Penguin Books (May 7, 2013)
- Publication date : May 7, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 1715 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 332 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #125,186 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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We then go back in time to follow one Toby Bell, an employee in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who starts to suspect the cover-up by his employers, which resulted in the murder of two innocent people. The more Toby uncovers the more danger builds for him and others who were affected by the traumas of the botched operation.
John La Carre has no hesitation in exposing his views of the immorality of New Labour and the USA during the time of the first Gulf War and subsequently. Much is also made of the post-traumatic stress some Special Forces soldiers experience from involvement in their political masters dirty business.
As Toby and the daughter of one of the servants of the British Crown - now retired but involved in “Operation Wildfire” - uncover more truths and become aware of people silenced for fear of speaking out - and race against those who would silence them - we find ourselves racing towards a climax that leaves the reader both troubled and breathless.
La Carre leaves us with disturbed minds. Is this sort of thing going on today?
The author - in his 81st year - has produced his brilliant 23rd novel and, in my opinion, John La Carre has achieved with this one what he has achieved with all his previous novels, a story that exposes the lies, hypocrisy, greed, and immorality that is so commonplace in modern western politics.
I discovered his books late in life and read The Night Manager and then A Delicate Truth. I thought this was an excellent book; well constructed with an elegant writing style. My husband is a writer, and I recommended this book to him as an example of high quality fiction.
Spoiler Alert below if you have not read the book.
1. The idiom was similar to his earlier books and took some effort, if you are American, but added color.
2. The subject matter (corruption of national intelligence by private contractors) is topical.
3. The imagery was quite good. It was easy to see why Toby disliked Quinn. It was easy to see him in his careerist endeavors. It was easy to appreciate Giles, the power broker.
1. The novel's character development was below le Carre's standard. There was no explanation about why Toby exceeded his information gathering instructions. Kit's motivations were stated but were not credible.
2. The portrayal of Giles and his mentee, Toby, was a mess. Giles was introduced to us as a power broker. Then a fact is dropped on us about 3/4ers of the way through the book. Toby appears to have forgotten this fact until he is reminded. Had deus ex machine features at the end.
3. There were holes in the plot. Quinn has a history of operating off the reservation. Giles and others place Toby as his number 2 and Giles asks Toby to do research and to listen carefully and alert him to certain troublesome behaviors. Toby tries to learn the specifics of Quinn's history and his sources indicate that this info is too hot to pass on. It was unclear why Toby was even in the hunt for the specifics, since Giles already knew much about them (hence his assignment of Toby). Toby fails his audition to be a plotter. Toby exceeds his spying mandate. Then an operation starts and, before it goes bad, Giles pulls back because the stove is too hot. Toby hides evidence (with poor technique, despite knowing good technique) and goes silent and is sent away. While away, he is oblivious to public knowledge, such as Quinn and Giles leaving the Foreign Office. None of the plotters is interested enough in Toby to spy on him.
4. Crispin and Quinn are part of some larger set of plotters with manipulative power. Shadowy is interesting, but we knew more about cover up participants in earlier le Carre.
5. The plot conceit was that there are at least three folks who have compartmentalized knowledge of an operation, only one of whom knows specific troublesome aspects of the operation. 2 folks get together, apparently randomly, and the 2nd gets religion. We are told that Toby knows something about the other two, but the other two do not know about him. Nevertheless, they somehow are able to reach out to Toby. Well before he does anything, but 3 years after the event, the plotters choose to set up a spy, after skipping terrific spying opportunity for 3 years. Very sloppy.
6. Sloppy ending. Appears that the author got tired and just stopped writing. Early in the final chapter, there was set up of an omniscient observer recounting the denouement. Then no more observer. Then no more prose. And no denouement.
We all know that le Carre can do better.
Top reviews from other countries
Reading during Covid gives me a different perspective; and in the grim days of Bumble Johnson makes it more poignant. Looking at it as an avid reader, it's really very good.
A Delicate Truth is le Carré’s take on Extraordinary Rendition and the increasing involvement of private contractors in national security in the late days of the New Labour government in 2008. It deals with an operation in Gibraltar to exfiltrate a terror suspect which, it emerges later, has gone badly wrong. Much of the book is concerned with the activities and fate of two Foreign Office officials who try to act as whistle-blowers.
It’s a decent story and the last sections are quite tense and exciting, but as a book it’s not in the same league as the great Smiley novels, for example, or the recent, excellent A Legacy Of Spies. Part of the problem, I think, is that le Carré is plainly (and rightly) outraged by what he describes and his indignation affects his style. The calm, measured tone which gives the great novels such impact is replaced by a more frenetic feel, including the modern fad for a fractured timescale. Both these things diminished the book for me.
This is still well worth reading, but my recommendation does come with reservations.