It's always an occasion when John Le Carre publishes a new novel, and "A Most Wanted Man" is no exception. A young, devout, and disturbed Muslim by the name of Issa sets the plot in motion by arriving in Hamburg, Germany, as an undocumented visitor. He carries a note that will open the vaults of a private bank, and provide him with the principal and interest on a deposit made by a Russian general in the early 1980's. Will Issa claim the money? What will it be used for? Who will be compromised? Remember, it is post 9/11, terror is the watchword, documents are the only acceptable proof of belonging, and even then you can't be sure. It's a world of deals and duplicity, do-gooders tainted by the times, and violence subtle and horrendous where good-hearted charitable donations outfit suicide bombers. As always, Le Carre reveals the anxiety and despair linked to power. It doesn't matter if it's the Red Menace, the menace of arms merchants and gunrunners, of pharmaceutical companies, dictators, or Islamic terrorists, anxiety touches all, and despair is the shallow water that leads to madness. "A Most Wanted Man," is an exciting novel by an author who is never less than keyed into the zeitgeist. Le Carre handles character, description, and action like the master he is; and writes prose that is a joy. Anyone who can craft a sentence as elegant and clear as the 270 words that are paragraph two of chapter eight of this book has a place secured in Author Heaven. It's a sentence you can dance to, and I'll bet he had a lot of fun crafting it. Finally, this quote from the young, civil-rights lawyer who has been retained by Issa; it gives a taste of the novel's world: "In my law school, we talked a great deal about law over life... It's a verity of our German history: law not to protect life but to abuse it. We did it to the Jews. In its current American form it licenses torture and kidnapping. And is infectious. Your country is not immune, neither is mine."
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Richard Wells (rwellsrwells)
Community Organizer by profession, artist at heart. "I been all 'round this world..."
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.