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A Small Town in Germany by John Le Carré
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A Small Town in Germany (original 1968; edition 2011)

by John Le Carré

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1,323225,881 (3.63)24
Member:Larou
Title:A Small Town in Germany
Authors:John Le Carré
Info:Penguin (2011), Kindle Edition, 326 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, E-books
Rating:
Tags:2012-12, Crime Fiction

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A Small Town in Germany by John le Carré (1968)

Recently added bynishaspillai, djjazzyd, private library, StuartNorth, svb84, Fips, KallieGrace, specto, dcunning11235
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English (18)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (22)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Not one of my favorites from le Carre, and a book which I struggled to finish. A pity as on the surface it should be excellent. The setting and all the right ingredients are there for a first rate spy novel, but the end result is tedious, slow moving and forgettable. Le Carre will never be confused as a thriller writer, but he is still at heart a storyteller, and the best of his works (Smiley's People, Tinker Tailor etc) are all hugely compelling despite their lack of physical action.

So what's the problem with A Small Town? Simply put, nothing much happens. Its cynical and jaded cast of characters spend most of the book going round in weary circles, treading the same paths, re-living the same conversations ad nauseam. There's hardly any forward momentum, hardly any sense of a mystery being gradually unravelled until about three quarters of the way into the book, and by that point the damage has been done. It doesn't help that the main character, a gruff Leamas like character, just doesn't work in the environment he's put in here.

There are some good points of course. The setting is wonderfully realised, a mix of moral and political murk spiced with seething undertones of violence, and le Carre's meticulous attention to detail is as evident here as it's always been. But without the usual magic it just comes across as a rather depressing Cold War relic. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
Not one of my favorites from le Carre, and a book which I struggled to finish. A pity as on the surface it should be excellent. The setting and all the right ingredients are there for a first rate spy novel, but the end result is tedious, slow moving and forgettable. Le Carre will never be confused as a thriller writer, but he is still at heart a storyteller, and the best of his works (Smiley's People, Tinker Tailor etc) are all hugely compelling despite their lack of physical action.

So what's the problem with A Small Town? Simply put, nothing much happens. Its cynical and jaded cast of characters spend most of the book going round in weary circles, treading the same paths, re-living the same conversations ad nauseam. There's hardly any forward momentum, hardly any sense of a mystery being gradually unravelled until about three quarters of the way into the book, and by that point the damage has been done. It doesn't help that the main character, a gruff Leamas like character, just doesn't work in the environment he's put in here.

There are some good points of course. The setting is wonderfully realised, a mix of moral and political murk spiced with seething undertones of violence, and le Carre's meticulous attention to detail is as evident here as it's always been. But without the usual magic it just comes across as a rather depressing Cold War relic. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
Beautiful language... ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Well, I'm a big le Carre' fan, but this was a little much for me. Well written of course, but it was the never ending Q and A. I'm exhausted now, and I wasn't the one being interrogated. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Feb 1, 2016 |
Substance: Suspense in post-WW2 Bonn, digging up old secrets, artful misdirection. Anything more would spoil things for the next reader.
Style: A bit terse for my taste. ( )
  librisissimo | Jan 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Alan Turner, agente de los servicios secretos británicos, es encargado de buscar a Leo Harting, funcionario de la embajada británica en Bonn, quien se ha llevado consigo una serie de documentos comprometedores.
La personalidad de Harting se va recomponiendo paulatinamente a través de los recuerdos contradictorios de sus colegas de la embajada.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 
The final explanation is unexpected -- but, when it comes, is immediately convincing. "A Small Town in Germany" is an exciting, compulsively readable and brilliantly plotted novel. Le Carré has shown once more that he can write this kind of book better than anyone else around -- and he has done so without repeating himself.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Richard Boston (Jul 20, 1968)
 
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Epigraph
Way over there in a
Small town in Germany
There lived a shoemaker:
Schumann was his name.
Ich bin ein Musikant,
Ich bin fur das Vaterland,
I have a big bass drum
And this is how I play!

-A drinking song sung in British military messes in Occupied Germany, with obscene variations, to the tune of the "Marche Militaire."
Dedication
First words
Ten minutes to midnight: a pious Friday evening in May and a fine river mist lying in the market square.
Mezzanotte meno dieci: un pio venerdì di maggio e una bella nebbia fluviale stagnante nella piazza del mercato. Bonn era una città balcanica, sporca e segreta, rigata con i fili dei tram. Bonn era una casa buia in cui qualcuno aveva esalato l'ultimo respiro, una casa dai neri drappeggi cattolici, sorvegliata da poliziotti. Le loro giubbe di cuoio luccicavano alla luce dei lampioni. Si sarebbe detto che tutti tranne loro avessero udito l'allarme e fossero fuggiti. Ora un'automobile, ora un pedone passavano rapidamente, e subito seguiva il silenzio come una scia. Un tram sferragliò, ma lontano. Nella drogheria, su una piramide di barattoli, il cartello scritto a mano annunciava l'emergenza: "Fate subito le provviste!" Tra le briciole, maialetti di marzapane, simili a topolini senza pelo, proclamavano il dimenticato giorno del santo.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743431715, Paperback)

John le Carré's classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge, and have earned him unprecedented worldwide acclaim.

A man is missing. Harting, refugee background, a Junior Something in the British Embassy in Bonn. Gone with him are forty-three files, all of them Confidential or above.

It is vital that the Germans do not learn that Harting is missing, nor that there's been a leak. With radical students and neo-Nazis rioting and critical negotiations under way in Brussels, the timing could not be worse -- and that's probably not an accident.

Alan Turner, London's security officer, is sent to Bonn to find the missing man and files as Germany's past, present, and future threaten to collide in a nightmare of violence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:21 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

West Germany, a simmering cauldron of radical protests, has produced a new danger to Britain: Karfeld, menacing leader of the opposition. At the same time Leo Harting, a Second Secretary in the British Embassy, has gone missing - along with more than forty Confidential embassy files. Alan Turner of the Foreign Office must travel to Bonn to recover them, facing riots, Nazi secrets and the delicate machinations of an unstable Europe in the throes of the Cold War. As Turner gets closer to the truth of Harting's disappearance, he will discover that the face of International relations - and the attentions of the British Ministry itself - is uglier that he could possibly have imagined.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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