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The Tailor of Panama by John Le Carre
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The Tailor of Panama (original 1996; edition 1996)

by John Le Carre

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1,696None4,184 (3.32)26
Member:jarmstrong
Title:The Tailor of Panama
Authors:John Le Carre
Info:Knopf (1996), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 331 pages
Collections:to read
Rating:***
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The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré (1996)

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English (9)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Disappointed in The Tailor of Panama because I like John le Carre's books. The plot is a bit jaded. Man with past is blackmailed into being a spy by those who know about the questionable bits of that past, etc. This is a mainframe on which a good novel can be built. Not here, though. Things take far too long to get going and although there are plenty of examples of le Carre's wit and skill, they are weighed down by the very slow pace of the novel. It takes the first one-third of the book to get any action going, and while I am NOT a fan of 'action-packed' narratives, the story should pick up more quickly. As with Graham Greene, le Carre's 'heros' are usually flawed and drift towards their fate. This is the case here with Harry Pendel and his character is well drawn. Pity about the sluggish pace of his story.
'Arguably his best book since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold', says The times Educational Supplement on the cover. Well, no. ( )
  Eamonn12 | Dec 12, 2012 |
This dodgy novel of dodgy regimes and dumb intelligence would suggest that Le Carre is yesterday's man as far as spy novels go.

2 out of 5 ( )
  BlueTysonSS | May 5, 2012 |
Eh. I gave up. Decided it wasn't worth my time to finish.
  aketzle | Aug 22, 2011 |
I didn't enjoy this novel as much as other Le Carre; it felt confusing and dis-jointed and not coherent at all for about 100 pages or so. I did eventually settle in to it, but was never gripped by the story line which did not feel very convincing. It is conceivable that people will believe what they want to believe, but it seemed very far fetched and not even based on any small truths. The dramatic way it all affected his family seemed difficult to grasp too. ( )
  Tifi | Mar 9, 2010 |
Verwirrend und langatmig: Am Anfang fand ich die Idee sehr gut. Ein Promi-Schneider wird erpresst, für den engl. Geheimdienst seine Kunden auszuhorchen. Zum Opfer wird er, weil er ein Doppelleben führt und seine glorreiche Vergangenheit mittels seines sprachlichen Talents und seiner Phantasie erfunden hat. Dann wird es aber undurchsichtig. Die Handlung springt manchmal unmotiviert und schwer nachvollziehbar zwischen Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Die Sache eskaliert und schlussendlich war ich froh, dass es endlich vorbei war. ( )
  r1hard | Nov 22, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (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)
 
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Epigraph
"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.)
Dedication
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.
Quotations
'And we dress, sir – ? Most of my gentlemen seem to favour left these days.'
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:14 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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