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A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre

A Most Wanted Man (edition 2009)

by John Le Carre

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1,854693,727 (3.44)73
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
Tags:zb2010, zfbubl, zr2013, germany, hamburg

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A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

Recently added byAvencejo, private library, LisvaneLibrary, wdyt, LeonG, codyacunningham, FOHHL, Newspapers
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» See also 73 mentions

English (61)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
I've never flung a book after finishing it, until tonight. I believe le Carre is a skilled writer, but the way he ended the story disappointed and even angered me. My anger wasn't rooted in a moral outrage, but in the unsatisfied feeling I had after giving hours of my time and attention to the story. ( )
  codyacunningham | May 9, 2016 |
This is a novel that readers need to be prepared to invest a considerable amount of time in because this is not a quick read. Although the book isn't terribly long, it is heavy going and full of detail. Is there a pay off? Not in the traditional sense. More of a thought provoker than a wrap up in the end.

A young Muslim, of somewhat indeterminate origin is transported illegally to Germany. He hangs around the Hamburg railway station until he identifies a fellow Muslim, who happens to be Turkish, and follows him home.

He and his mother take in the illegal immigrant because of their beliefs in hospitality and the Koran, but not due to any militant factionism or inherent Islamism. The young man appears to understand some aspects of the Koran and Islam and not others which is puzzling to his hosts.

An attorney who works for a civil rights and human rights agency is contacted by the family. He has a letter of introduction to a private bank and a private account. He does not want to touch the money because it was deposited their by his father - a high ranking KGB member during the Cold War. The money is ostensibly blood money. The young man wishes the money to be distributed to organizations to assist Chechen's who have been affected by Russian occupation.

But here lies the rub. Islamic organizations who do such work, also funnel money into terrorist activities. The banker who has inherited his father's private bank, likewise inherits his fathers connections with the British and German secret services. The young attorney is also pulled into the affair.

And so begins the political, espionage and private machinations and interests that are at odds with one another. Each player – the accidental hosts, the banker, the attorney and the illegal immigrant become caught up in the much larger picture of the post 9/11 world: stop the funds, thus halting the spread of terrorism.

The end result is a series of moral quandaries that the reader must ponder. Is helping someone who appears to harbor no terroristic ambitions and who has been tortured for his beliefs and managed to escape, right or wrong? And further, what will happen to the hosts? Can one be labeled a terrorist for aiding someone by accident? What are the repercussions if the hosts are only on permanent resident visas to their host country?

What are the roles of private banks in holding and laundering blood money? What responsibilities do they have beyond acting as responsible stewards for the money with which they have been entrusted? What is the role they play between “old money” (in this case funds that have sat in cold storage for 50 or more years) and the transfer of that money back to areas from which it was misappropriated in the first place? How liable or not are bankers? What are their fiduciary trusts?

How far can a civil right attorney go? At what point do personal feelings and agendas start to cross and blur lines with professional responsibilities? Is that kind of work ultimately soul crushing as individuals get caught up in larger political and social agendas? How far can an individual go to help and when does it stop being aid and assistance and start to be aiding and abetting?

Then there are the macro pictures and agendas: politics, secret services, anti-terrorist organizations, intelligence services, police at all levels. Can they really identify what is a true agenda? Can they really stop the flow of funds without actually hurting people on the ground who need those funds to stay alive and to fight terrorism from their end of the pipeline?

As I said, this book raises more questions than it answers. However, it is a great jumping off point for book clubs who might like to use fiction to discuss these questions. Or for discussion groups on world affairs, to use fiction as a tool to open up a discussion about how the world works. Especially the post 9/11 world.

This is a four star read but if you want a neat, tidy bow on the end of the story - you will be gravely disappointed. ( )
  ozzieslim | Apr 19, 2016 |
The only thing that stops people from realizing that le Carre is in the same breath as any other great writer alive today is that he writes in a 'genre'... He writes so well, constructs sentences so perfectly, that it makes my head hurt sometimes. The guy just hasn't lost a step.

I'm giving this five stars despite the over the top cartoony kind of anti-American ending he slapped on kinda out of nowhere. The rest of the book is that good. Really hope he's got a few more of these left up his sleeve. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jan 27, 2016 |
A totally pointless book. I kept waiting for something to happen but nothing did and then the book just randomly ends. Issa may or may not be a Chechneyan terrorist. He obtains a lawyer Annabel Richter to help him become a German citizen and obtain an education to become a doctor. Then Annabel and the banker Brue become involved with German and English spies. I have no idea what the point of this book was suppsoed ot be. A waste of my time. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
This book took me forever to slog through. Not my type of novel.

Was the writing bad? No, but it was convoluted.

If you thought this was going to be an action-filled spy novel, you would be wrong. Le Carre focuses on the intellectual aspect of high-stakes information gathering.

It's set in modern day, and I thought I would like both the setting and the intellectual take on intelligence gathering. I didn't. ( )
  Raeleigh | Jan 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (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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The golden rule is, to help those we love to escape from us.
~ Friedrich von Hügel
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.
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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Lawyer; terrorist;
Banker; lots and lots of spies.
But who can you trust?

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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)

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