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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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1,969713,446 (3.46)76
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

Work details

A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré

  1. 00
    The Mission Song by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  2. 00
    Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  3. 00
    The Night Manager by John Le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    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.
  5. 00
    Flygtningen by Olav Hergel (2810michael)
  6. 00
    Indvandreren by Olav Hergel (2810michael)

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» See also 76 mentions

English (63)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All (71)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
I probably would never have read this book if not for Tony Kevin, author of Walking the Camino and Return to Moscow. A retired diplomat who was based in Moscow during the Soviet era, Kevin recommends John le Carré as an author who depicts the intricate world of spies and diplomacy in quite realistic ways. So, when I saw A Most Wanted Man at the library, I thought why not? I had liked The Constant Gardener, after all…

A Most Wanted Man turned out to be quite entertaining reading. Not surprisingly, it has been made into a film.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/04/23/a-most-wanted-man-by-john-le-carre-narrated-by-michael-jayston/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Apr 23, 2017 |
I have long been an avid reader of le Carré, but for some reason took a hiatus after 'Single & Single', which, maybe due to my own frame of mind at the time, I found less satisfying than normal. However, I'm glad that I made a belated return to 'A Most Wanted Man'. Chapter One was like getting on a familiar but slightly rusty bicycle, and it took a couple of turns to get going, but once into Chapter Two, I never looked back. As has been said a million times, le Carré is a master of story-telling, and his deceptively easy flowing style is compelling. There may be a touch or two of the formulaic in the plotting by this stage, but that does not detract from engagement with character, which I find to be at the heart of this novel. Furthermore, although only narrating at the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, the author clearly communicates a much larger passion for the subject-matter than the words intrinsically convey. As ever, it is an overriding sense of the battle between justice and injustice, which has been a constant at least since 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold', that lifts a le Carré thriller into the realms of literature. ( )
  Kanikoski | Feb 19, 2017 |
I read A Most Wanted Man when it was first published, saw the movie last week, and decided to re-read it. I'm glad I did. Although it's not a spy novel starring George Smiley by any means, LeCarre's trademark dialogue, exceptional writing, and intricate plotting are all present. It's not a book that screamed 'you have to make a movie out of this' (which is why I re-read it, to see if I missed something the first time), but the interaction among the characters and the ambiguity of the situations throughout the story end up being the basis for a good book and a pretty fair movie.

The story itself, which begins in a fairly lighthearted manner, quickly becomes complicated by strange behavior on the part of the illegal immigrant, German rules and regulations, a liberal female lawyer that everyone ends up falling in love with, the War on Terror, a bank that may have played too nicely with bad people in the past, international competition between spy agencies, and many other complexities. In typical fashion, LeCarre does a nice job and takes his time developing the characters, so throughout the cat and mouse scenarios I was able to keep the players straight. The end wasn't exactly a scenario that was expected, but in retrospect it should have been. ( )
  gmmartz | Jun 21, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John le Carréprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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This is the book; do not combine with the movie that is an adaption of this book.
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Haiku summary
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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