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The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré

The Tailor of Panama (1996)

by John le Carré

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,174154,519 (3.38)41
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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The plot though rather good, could not keep my attention. Some of the characters are well written, but others, seem to drag the book down. The book does not flow and you will find yourself putting it down to do something. The story is a satire on the time when America has just handed over the Panama canal. Though I cannot believe that any agency would fall for the information that was passed on by Harry, the tailor and would be spy. Of course I read the whole book, because my rule is once you start ....finish it. Other wise , I would have put it down. ( )
  hermit | Nov 9, 2018 |
Really funny especially for a spy novel ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
I enjoyed this novel for its mix of espionage, humour and thrill. One can't help but feel sorry for Harry Pendel, caught in his web of lies but fundamentally good, trapped in a world that does him no favours and for which he is ill equipped to survived. I also liked the cast of supporting characters, from Andy, greedy and mischievous, Maltby, surprising and opportunistic, Marta, mysterious and faithful. All are well developed, enticing and engaging.
The plot did have lengthy bits but never once was I bored. The politics were relatively easy to follow and I enjoyed learning more about a country I knew nothing about.
Not one of LeCarré's best, but certainly a good example of this work, and an entertaining read. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Sep 22, 2015 |
Very amusing story of an ex-pat Brit in Panama, who is pressured to become a spy, and who invents a whole world of intrigue out of whole cloth.
Makes me think that this is what happened to the USA in its intelligence gathering prior to the Iraq war.
The book was a bit slow going. The interspersed humor kept me going though. ( )
  BillPilgrim | Aug 27, 2014 |
"Inspired by Our Man in Havana" ... well, it is Our Man in Havana -- only bloated out to three times the length with a number of extra, tedious subplots. ( )
  terrazoon | Jul 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
John le Carré's writerly skills are at work in ''The Tailor of Panama.'' The pace is nonstop, scenes are cleanly and economically written, and flashbacks are incorporated seamlessly into the narrative. The details of the tailor's craft are given entertainingly. And the conclusion, which should probably not come as a surprise, resoundingly does.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Norman Rush (Jul 20, 1996)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
le Carré, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christiansen, IbTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmitz, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Quel Panama!"

Expression current in France
in the early years of this century:
describes an insoluble mess.
– (See McCuloough's admirable The Path Between the Seas.)
In memory of
Rainer Heumann,
literary agent, gentleman and friend
First words
It was a perfectly ordinary Friday afternoon in tropical Panama until Andrew Osnard barged into Harry Pendel's shop asking to be measured for a suit.
'And we dress, sir – ? Most of my gentlemen seem to favour left these days.'
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345420438, Mass Market Paperback)

John le Carré, the greatest spy novelist of the Cold War era, continues his post-Cold War quest to define the genre he helped perfect. The classic spy novel was essentially a story of good (England, the United States) vs. evil (Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union), in which good more or less prevailed. The Tailor of Panama is something else entirely: a spy novel with no spies in which the bad guys reap most of the rewards. It is also a viciously funny satire. The novel is set in Panama, where a plot is in place to make void the Panama Treaty, which would return control of the Panama Canal to the Panamanians in 1999. At the center of events is Harry Pendel, the tailor of the title. Coerced into working for British Intelligence, he concocts out of whole cloth a left-wing movement with the goal of luring the American military to do the dirty work--invade Panama à la 1989 and nullify the treaty. From the characters to the setting, le Carré has succeeded in setting new parameters for an old genre.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:13 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

An English tailor working in Panama is hired by the British government as a spy because of his contacts at the highest level. He proceeds to tailor his reports the way he creates his suits, giving the client what he wants, and the result is tragicomedy.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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Average: (3.38)
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