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A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre
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A Most Wanted Man (original 2008; edition 2009)

by John Le Carre

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,661584,332 (3.45)64
Member:Minthe
Title:A Most Wanted Man
Authors:John Le Carre
Info:Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (2009), Paperback, 417 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Fiction, Owned, For recommendations
Rating:****
Tags:zb2010, zfbubl, zr2013, germany, hamburg

Work details

A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré (2008)

  1. 10
    Harbor by Lorraine Adams (davidpwhelan)
    davidpwhelan: Both books share plots that deal with mistaken identity, circumstantial evidence, war on terror, ascribing hostility to others based on race or religious background, and are well-written thrillers.
  2. 00
    Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  3. 00
    The Mission Song by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    The Night Manager by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    Indvandreren by Olav Hergel (2810michael)
  6. 00
    Flygtningen by Olav Hergel (2810michael)
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» See also 64 mentions

English (51)  German (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (58)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
A good thriller, with a surprisingly accessible beginning that combines just the right amount of menace, malice, suspicion & suspense to get you hooked. Interesting but ultimately shallowly drawn characters then spend the middle third of the book getting bogged down in intelligence protocol & process. This isn't excitement, but with the proper pacing could have been very gripping. Instead it was interesting but not involving. Worth a read, but not a reread, & certainly not a book I'll be keeping. ( )
  aadyer | Sep 14, 2014 |
A Most Wanted Man is a present-day spy thriller set in Hamburg, Germany. The titular man is a Chechen, possibly a terrorist, certainly once a tortured prisoner, who has entered Germany illegally, revealed himself as the heir of a large amount of dirty money, and is thus wanted by the intelligence agents of three countries: Germany, Britain and the U.S.

This was my first le Carre, an author who I am certainly familiar with, and I don't think this was the best one to start out with, to be honest. Le Carre's writing is clear, precise, and very readable, but this story was lacking in excitement and genuine characters. The only character who I could truly empathize with was the banker, who was having some sort of midlife crisis and seemed to only muddle through the intrigue he found himself caught up in. I couldn't understand the fascination that Issa, the wanted man, held for all the people he met, and the female lawyer who inexplicably falls in love with him seems two-dimensional in her flatness. Most frustrating of all, the main character, the disillusioned German spy, was a cipher to me, and I felt like understanding him was the key to understanding the book. On top of that frustration, I thought that the overall tone of the book was anti-American and way too black-and-white. I would have appreciated more nuance when dealing with the modern-day war on terror.

I'm not sure if I'll try another of le Carre's books. This one seemed so promising, but ultimately disappoints. I will probably see the movie adaptation, anyway, since it is Philip Seymour Hoffman's last film.

Book club pick (2014). ( )
  sturlington | Sep 2, 2014 |
I wouldn't evaluate Rembrandt based on paintings he did in kindergarten, and it seems similarly unfair to judge a past master of the spy thriller genre by the output of his emeritus years. Though I have known his name all my life, A Most Wanted Man was the first John le Carré book I've read. I found it a steady, workmanlike novel, not the type of intricate, shape-shifting page turner I had come to expect. Its themes of Islamic terrorism and corruption are topical, but the characterisations are thin and the plot lacks a sense of urgency - never a good sign for a thriller. ( )
1 vote whirled | Aug 17, 2014 |
A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

While A Most Wanted Man was a well written page turner it lacked the complexity I have come to love in Le Carré’s novels. Published in 2009 it was topical and I suspect it was the author’s way of bringing the practice of extraordinary rendition carried out by governments that keep quite about what they are doing and, when their actions are exposed, justify everything under the banner, “The War on Terrorism”.

Le Carré gives the reader a glimpse of the shady world of international counter espionage and the pervasive nature of modern surveillance.

A somewhat linear tale told by a master whose stories are not normally so straightforward. ( )
1 vote pgmcc | Jul 15, 2014 |
It started out fairly promising but I never was able to figure out who was who, who was telling the truth( I suspect very few), and who was double-crossing who (just about anyone in an intellgence service). The different sercret services seemed so intent on one-upping each other that it hardly seemed to matter if either of the two targets were guilty of anything. Issa was totally incomprehensible, as was his lawyer, Annabel. The rest were only slightly better. Please, let the next one be better.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John le Carréprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rees, RogerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The golden rule is, to help those we love to escape from us.
~ Friedrich von Hügel
Dedication
For my grandchildren,
born and unborn
First words
A Turkish heavyweight boxing champion sauntering down a Hamburg street with his mother on his arm can scarcely be blamed for failing to notice that he is being shadowed by a skinny boy in a black coat.
Quotations
The staple of your private banker's life, Brue liked to pontificate after a scotch or two in amiable company, was not, as one might reasonably expect, cash. It wasn't bull markets, bear markets, hedge funds or derivatives. It was cock-up. It was the persistent, he would go so far as to say the permanent sound, not to put too fine an edge on it, of excrement hitting your proverbial fan. So if you didn't happen to like living in a state of unremitting siege, the odds were that private banking wasn't for you.
The driver was holding open the rear door. He was young and blond, a boy in his prime.
I am a Muslim medical student. I am tired and I wish to stay at your house.
He had the assurance of wealth but none of its arrogance. His facial features, when not battened down for professional inscrutability, were affable and, despite a lifetime in banking or because of it, refreshingly unlined.
If there are people in the world for whom espionage was ever the only possible calling, Bachmann was such a person.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Lawyer; terrorist;
Banker; lots and lots of spies.
But who can you trust?
(Noisy)

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A half-starved young Russian man claiming to be a devout Muslim, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, and a sixty-year-old scion of a failing British bank based in Hamburg form an unlikely alliance as the rival spies of Germany, England and America scent a sure kill in the "War on Terror," and converge upon the innocents.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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