A Novel

Hardcover, 272 pages

Published Oct. 12, 2021 by Viking.

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3 stars (2 reviews)

An agent of the British secret service gets jarred loose from his setting, and his rattling around attracts the attention of other service members.

4 editions

Vintage stuff

3 stars

No doubt the style is le Carré in his best days. English like no-one else can write it and it's rare pleasure to read. Maybe I'm wrong but I think I can see why he didn't publish it during his lifetime. As said style is all there but substance is almost absent.

Like an exercise in style just for the fun of it.


No rating

A British intelligence agent gets shaken up while on assignment. Soon after the agent retires to a coastal resort town, but it provides no relief, and the agent's restlessness attracts the attention, and later the concern, of former intelligence colleagues.

The story is straightforward spy vs spy, but it has an interesting structure. The two peripheral characters — the daughter and the book-seller — are made central and the two central characters — the rogue-spy mouse and the internal-affairs cat — work in the periphery. It takes about half the book before it dawns (at least it did for me) that the internal-affairs agent is something more than a device for advancing the plot by going around and interviewing people to reveal backstory.

The book reads like a second draft in need of a third, and possibly a fourth. This is not only because the jacket copy says the book’s …