Sep 02 2014

The Mission Song by John Le Carre

In this book Le Carre succeeds in doing what he failed to do in Tinker Tailor: creating characters that the reader actually cares about, as a well as a plot involving a covert operation whose outcome is not merely a an academic move in a geopolitical chess game. I identify in some ways with the protagonist: he is biracial, good at languages, looking to make a difference, and concerned about his soul. The ending is pretty much what had to happen given that the arena for the covert operation is Africa and not Europe, but it still shocks one’s sensibilities and even provokes a bit of moral outrage. This book was a pleasure to read from beginning to end; Le Carre seems to have saved his best material for the post-Cold War era.

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