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The Little Drummer Girl by John Le Carré

The Little Drummer Girl (original 1983; edition 1983)

by John Le Carré

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2,084203,172 (3.8)39
Title:The Little Drummer Girl
Authors:John Le Carré
Info:New York : Knopf, 1983.
Collections:Your library

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The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré (Author) (1983)



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English (16)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
John Le Carre's cold war stories are at the top of my list.

As such, it was painful to read through Little Drummer Girl. Action and adventure, high wire cliff-hanger (literally), secret agent man...

Some people like it, obviously, but that's not what I came here for. ( )
  meekGee | Jul 6, 2015 |
One of his best. I enjoyed this book on many levels. Le Carre does a good job in developing the character of Charlie, a cut-rate actress with radical left leanings suffering from low self-esteem, who is recruited as a mole to ferret out a terrorist bomber. The Mossad operatives are also well portrayed as cold and vengeful.

Events in the story are disturbingly realistic showing the ruthlessness required for the counter-terrorist game. The author spent a lot of time researching this book in Lebanon and other places in the Mid-East, and clearly shows sympathies to the Palestinian plight. I liked it so much I read it twice. Not recommended for those readers only interested in thrills and action, which is general advice for all of Le Carre's works. ( )
1 vote BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
Le Carre leaves Britain behind and heads for southern Europe and the Levant. The Israelis are the agent runners in this one, although it's not well explained how they got the agent, Charlie, to run. She seemed mostly unwilling, but for unexplained reasons did it anyway.

This is one of Le Carre's bigger books, at 534 pages. Le Carre spent an enormous amount of time on the "interview" of Charlie by the Israelis. (Way too much. It should have been cut down, especially since it didn't really add much to the story, other than letting us know that the Israelis spent an enormous amount of time talking endlessly to Charlie.)

I've been reading all of Le Carre's spy novels chronologically and this is the weakest of the lot since "A Small Town In Germany," which was marginally better. ( )
  br77rino | Jan 3, 2014 |
It begins with the 19th Century picture of the child with the smashed drum facing a number of irritated soldiers. The caption relates that the drum was smashed by the French Drummer boy rather than the boy take up a new life drumming for the German soldiers who are fighting Napoleon. The story of how Mossad recruits a sympathizer with the Palestinians and finally uses/betrays her into being part of an-anti-Hezbollah operation. First rate about how it's done in the shadow world of international intrigue. An excellent cautionary tale. Don't read the last half when depressed already. ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | Oct 29, 2013 |
Was this novel just too long? Did Le Carré stretch his material that bit too far? I’m not sure but I know I lost some interest in both Charlie and Becker. Charlie never became a convincing character for me. I wonder if this is because of the difficulty of men portraying women and female writers creating authentic men. This, of course, is sweeping but a little topical as I wrote this with JK Rowling revealed as the mystery ‘male’ writer of the well received crime novel, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’, but only after it had been remarked on how capably a male writer had described women’s clothes. Still, back to Charlie. Perfect memory, wonderful acting, brainwashed by events and then carried off by her white knight – not a construction that appeals to me.

What I found more interesting was the way Le Carré portrayed the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. On the one hand he seemed to give on at least a couple of occasions convincing arguments about how badly the Palestinians had been treated by both the English and the Israelis but he also created caricatures of Arabs – flashy, arrogant and singing by rote to the same tune. It was a contradictory presentation and the way the Israelis win so sweepingly at the end also seems to suggest he felt the good guys won, Kurtz especially being created as a warm, paternal character.

In brief, this novel left me uncomfortable and unfulfilled but Le Carré’s style of writing, the way he strings words together, remained as enjoyable as in his other novels. ( )
2 vote evening | Jul 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Mr. le Carré's novel is certainly the most mature, inventive and powerful book about terrorists-come-to-life this reader has experienced. It transcends the genre by reason of the will and the interests of the author. The story line interests him but does not dominate him. He is interested in writing interestingly about things interesting and not interesting. Terrorism and counterterrorism, intelligence work and espionage are, then, merely the vehicle for a book about love, anomie, cruelty, determination and love of country. ''The Little Drummer Girl'' is about spies as ''Madame Bovary'' is about adultery or ''Crime and Punishment'' about crime. Mr. le Carré easily establishes that he is not beholden to the form he elects to use. This book will permanently raise him out of the espionage league, narrowly viewed.
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A David et J.B. Greenway, Julia, Alice, et Sadie... pour leur temps, leur hospitalité et leur amitié.
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It was the Bad Godesberg incident that gave the proof, though the German authorities had no earthly means of knowing this.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394530152, Hardcover)

In this enthralling and thought-provoking novel of Middle Eastern intrigue, Charlie, a brilliant and beautiful young actress, is lured into 'the theatre of the real' by an Israeli intelligence officer. Forced to play her ultimate role, she is plunged into a deceptive and delicate trap set to ensnare an elusive Palestinian terrorist. THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL is a thrilling, deeply moving and courageous novel of our times.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Charlie, a young English actress, meets a man on a Greek beach who draws her into a world of espionage and terror in the Middle East.

(summary from another edition)

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