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Silverview: A Novel von John Le Carré
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Silverview: A Novel (Original 2021; 2021. Auflage)

von John Le Carré (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
3852252,654 (3.82)10
Mitglied:timothyhorgan
Titel:Silverview: A Novel
Autoren:John Le Carré (Autor)
Info:Viking (2021), 224 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:
Tags:Fiction

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Silverview von John le Carré (2021)

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I've been reading John Le Carre for probably forty years now, beginning way back with THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, then zig-zagging through at least half a dozen more of his many works, so I thoroughly enjoyed SILVERVIEW, albeit with an undertone of sadness, knowing this would be his last. He died last year at 89. This last manuscript was rescued from a desk drawer by Le Carre's son, Nick Cornwell, who I assume proofread and polished it some, but not much, because the book reads like vintage Le Carre, who is the acknowledged master of the literary spy novel. (The one glaring error Nick missed, unless it was just a typo, was the line that read: "Top brass from Langley, NASA, Defence and the White House brigade." Anyone who knows anything about the intelligence community knows that shou!d have been NSA, not NASA.)

Indeed, the author's son tells us, in his Afterword, that the novel was very much a finished product, and feels his father was only hesitant to publish it because of its implications that Le Carre's beloved Secret Service had lost its way in recent years. This can be seen in the musings of Proctor, a central character, as he wonders about Edward, a valuable agent who had turned and was on the run.

"Did Edward still love the Service despite its many blemishes? ... Did Edward see the Service as the problem rather than the solution? ... Did Edward fear that, in the absence of any coherent British foreign policy, the Service was getting too big for its boots?"

The characters here are all fascinating, if at times unfathomable. And, as the book is barely two hundred pages, they are perhaps not quite as fully developed as some of his more famous ones - Smiley's people. However, they all seem to work, because I kept on feverishly turning pages, wanting desperately to know what would happen next. Perhaps the author had more he wanted to add to the story, but his time ran out. And what is here is, in the end, sufficient - one hell of a good spy story in fact. There are a few "old hands," as well as a young city trader turned bookseller in a small town. A couple love stories, one old, one new. Some possible infidelity. It's all in here. Le Carre was still very much at the top of his game when he left us. RIP, Sir, and thank you for all of it. My highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Jan 20, 2022 |
"‘Silverview’: El adiós del espía", Antonio Muñoz Molina, El País 15.01.2022: https://elpais.com/babelia/2022-01-15/el-adios-del-espia.html
  Albertos | Jan 19, 2022 |
Silverview, John le Carré, Author; Toby Jones, narrator In this, the last novel of John Le Carré, we are gifted with a beautifully written espionage tale that does not truly come together until the very end. From the beginning, the story twists and turns in many directions, leading the reader on a merry chase after the plot, perhaps requiring a second read to put it all together. Is this an espionage novel or a romance novel masquerading as one? When the story opens, a woman pushing a pram in the rain visits the home of Stewart Proctor. She delivers a sealed letter to Proctor and awaits his response which she brings back to her ailing and dying mother, Deborah Garton, who is married to Edward Avon, Lily’s father. They live in a house called Silverview, which gives the book its title and is the English translation of Silberblick, the name of Nietzsche’s home. Their relationships are complicated. While this thread of that story unfolds, another begins. Julian Lawndsley is the owner of a bookstore. He left a lucrative financial career to begin a quieter life. One day, he is visited in the store by one Edward Avon, who tells him he had once been a dear friend of his father. Edward encourages him to open a section of his store, in the basement, devoted to the classics, and they call it “The Republic of Literature”. Soon Edward asks Julian for a favor. He wants him to deliver a letter to a woman he covets outside of his marriage. Shortly afterward, Edward’s wife, Deborah, invites Julian to dinner, although she is quite ill and dying. The conversation is cryptic, that evening, but pleasant. Julian meets Lily there and they grow fond of each other. Julian learns many things about Edward besides his friendship with his father. Many years ago, Edward rescued a doctor named Salma, from the Serbs, after they murdered her husband, Faisal, and her son. He then returned to his life with his wife Deborah. When Edward asks Julian to do him a favor and deliver a letter to a woman he covets outside his marriage, Julian agrees. He has no idea who she is, but he accepts the responsibility because he is fond of Edward. He returns with a letter for Edward and a message that she is well. He tells Edward she is beautiful. In the next thread, there is a breach of security in England, Stuart Proctor becomes involved. He and Deborah worked for the British Intelligence Service. She was extremely well respected. Proctor begins to suspect Edward of treachery. Could Edward be the cause of the breach. He follows Edward’s trail and investigates all of the people he visits to find out if he is up to something or has been for years. Many questions erupt from the pages. Who is Stuart Proctor? Who is the real Julian, What part does Lily play in all of the comings and goings. Who is the real Edward? Who was the mystery woman of the letter. Several of the characters have double lives and double names, but each is an integral part of the story, filling in the blank spaces that arise. Although the book is narrated really well by Toby Jones, it might be easier to understand the novel if it is read in a print edition. Often the characters changed without notice and the thread of the story was momentarily lost. As each new event and character is introduced, the reader is forced to try to figure out what place it occupies in the underlying thread. In the end, one wonders will the real spy be identified and caught? ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jan 11, 2022 |
Those of us who followed John LeCarré’s remarkable career as a chronicler of global politics in the form of sophisticated espionage stories until his death last year felt a pang of sadness mixed with excitement to learn a final posthumous novel was to be published. Its manuscript had been languishing in a drawer, a story the author couldn’t quite finish tinkering with, unwilling to bring it to the public. According to an afterword by his son, it was drafted after A DELICATE TRUTH (published in 2013). He had promised his father he would finish any manuscript that was incomplete on his death, but to his surprise the draft of SILVERVIEW was essentially complete. Why didn’t LeCarré publish it during his lifetime? His son speculates that it cut a little too close to the bone, depicting a service that had entirely lost its way.

It’s quite a short book, though it offers the usual cast of eccentric characters, elliptical plotting that involves plenty of double-crosses and moral morasses, and a jaundiced view of the role espionage plays in contemporary geopolitical power struggles. It even includes wives who, like Smiley’s enigmatic Ann, are both unfaithful and cold-hearted. Perhaps marriage was a metaphor for him of betrayal in the face of an incurable romantic streak. It’s not very fair on the women characters, though.

The story focuses on Julian Lawndsley, a burned-out financier who has retired to the countryside to open a bookshop though he knows very little about books, and Edward Avon, a Polish émigré who sweeps in and befriends him in an extravagant way. We know that Edward is married to a wealthy former spy who is now dying of cancer in her mansion, Silverview. We also know they have a prickly daughter who, in the opening scene, crossly delivers a letter from her mother to an official in London. To a large extent her irritation is with having to live a hidden life among spies.

Edward Avon previously worked through a local bric-a-brac shop to sell off a valuable collection of Chinese porcelain. Now he proposes to launch a “Republic of Books” at Julian’s shop, providing lists of classic works and boundless energy. Though he wonders if he’s being conned, Julian becomes enthusiastic. Then Edward asks Julian to take a letter to a mysterious woman in London, all while intelligence officials maneuver in the background, delving into Edward’s past. Clearly there are things afoot that Julian cannot see.

SILVERVIEW is not top-notch LeCarré; compared to immediate predecessors it’s a minor work, but it fits in the trajectory of his late career dissection of the unheroic role British intelligence services play in post-cold war politics. As one career spook thinks to himself, “the very idea of a consuming passion bewildered him – let alone allowing one’s life to be conducted by it. Absolute commitment of any sort constituted to his trained mind a grave security threat.” Despite the author’s son’s belief this slight novel was too cynical for his father to publish he does, in the end, allow one character a chance to act purely on principle.
  bfister | Dec 29, 2021 |
Onafgewerkte roman van Le Carré, aangetroffen tussen zijn manuscripten na zijn overlijden. Slechts 200 blz. Diende door zijn zoon verder te worden afgewerkt tot een volledige thriller, maar is niet gebeurt. Het verhaal stopt bij het onverwacht ontsnappen van de verdachte spion. Normaal had het verhaal nog een 200-tal blz. moeten verdergaan, maar dat is dus niet gebeurt. Alle lovende vermeldingen op de achterkant en de flappen van het boek dekken niet de inhoud van het werk. Geen aanrader, eerder aanbeveling om er geen tijd aan te besteden. ( )
  Frank_49 | Dec 27, 2021 |
While it's perhaps true that the posthumous publications of the recently deceased have a tendency to be more or less reviewer-proof, the good news is that Silverview, the 26th novel from John le Carré, who died last December, aged 89, offers plenty to enjoy and admire. Crisp prose, a precision-tooled plot, the heady sense of an inside track on a shadowy world... all his usual pleasures are here, although it can’t be ignored that they're aren’t always quite in sync. ...

Ultimately, Silverview unspools as a cat-and-mouse chase narrative, with the novel's dual perspective putting us in the control room, one step ahead of the characters, able to see the bigger picture, albeit heavily pixellated until the final pages. Such are the layers of irony that it's easy to forget that the sting in the tale was already delivered upfront, in an enigmatic opening shorn of vital context. Suffice to say that, in the typically male world of le Carré's fiction, the defining act this time turns on the vexed filial loyalty between a mother and daughter.

If we're left dangling by the end, there’s an added tease of sorts in the novel’s billing as le Carré's "last complete masterwork" – on the strong side, no doubt, but a tag that nonetheless holds out the prospect of rougher treasures still awaiting the light.
hinzugefügt von Cynfelyn | bearbeitenThe Guardian, Anthony Cummins (Oct 12, 2021)
 
First-rate prose and a fascinating plot distinguish the final novel from MWA Grand Master le Carré (1931–2020). Two months after leaving a banking job in London, 33-year-old Julian Lawndsley gets a visit from an eccentric customer, Edward Avon, just before closing time at the bookshop Julian now runs in East Anglia. When Julian asks the man what he does, he replies, “Let us say I am a British mongrel, retired, a former academic of no merit and one of life’s odd-job men.” The next morning, Julian runs into Edward at the local café, where Edward claims he knew Julian’s late father at Oxford. Julian later learns that Edward, a Polish emigré, was recruited into the Service years before. Julian senses something is off, as does the head of Domestic Security for the Service, who’s investigating Edward’s wife, an Arabist and outstanding Service intelligence analyst. While laying out the Avons’ intriguing backstories and their current activities, le Carré highlights the evils spies and governments have perpetrated on the world. Many readers will think the book is unfinished—it ends abruptly—but few will find it unsatisfying. This is a fitting coda to a remarkable career.
hinzugefügt von VivienneR | bearbeitenPublisher's Weekly (Mar 13, 2021)
 
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