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Un traître à notre goût…

Un traître à notre goût (original 2010; edition 2011)

by John Le Carré

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1,619706,751 (3.38)94
Title:Un traître à notre goût
Authors:John Le Carré
Info:Seuil (2011), Broché
Collections:Your digital library

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Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré (2010)


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» See also 94 mentions

English (62)  Danish (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
deludente, un finale tirato via, peccato ( )
  lucaconti | Jan 24, 2019 |
(original review, 2010)

About a third of the way through “Our Kind of Traitor”, I sat back and reflected on the elegance of the prose and the grace and ease with which the narrative moved back and forth through time, and two words came inescapably to mind: Joseph Conrad. I can't believe, after all the le Carré novels I had already read at that point, that this was the first time the comparison ever occurred to me, but there it is.

In a way, though, it's fitting that the realization came with that book: "Our Kind of Traitor" is an elegant novel, certainly an accomplished bit of storytelling, but I don't think anyone will ever rank it alongside “Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy” or “The Constant Gardener”. Yet I savored the book for the skill and grace with which it was written. This is what distinguishes Le Carré from somebody like Michael Crichton: he can be read with pleasure simply for the quality of his writing. Crichton is a wonderfully efficient storyteller, and as long as he's got a good tale to tell, he can be great fun to read. What he does is not easy, and at his best he does it very, very well. But I could never imagine sitting back, after reading a page of any one of his books, and simply savoring the language for its own sake. With John le Carré I find myself doing this all the time -- as I do with Raymond Chandler, another truly great writer who happened to work in "genre fiction".

Conrad was probably the originator of the literary thriller in which a compromised, emotionally tormented male protagonist, an anti-hero no less in the true sense, is placed centre-stage, in a morally ambiguous setting with all sorts of dark shades. And that is very much Le Carre’s model too.

It’s so very sharp and proficient (as, of course, is the plotting and structure). Some Le Carré detractors grumble about clichés and typical thriller language, but as far as I’m concerned (and I am, admittedly, a very big fan) they are only demonstrating their own philistinism in doing so. He does use the kind of colloquialisms and set phrases that you could dismiss as clichés elsewhere, but half of them he’s invented himself, and the other half he is using knowingly, with perfect confidence. There is nothing wrong with clichés if the writer is good enough to shepherd them around the page exactly as he wants, to be their master. They are only a problem if the writer isn’t good enough, and they come blundering in unbidden and out of control, often in the midst of pretentiously considered sentences. Le Carré, obviously, is plenty good enough. The pacing, the tone: it's all just brilliant, and as a literary device, the way the protagonist retreats deeper into his own repressed psychology as his own physical horizons are narrowed down and down is ever so clever. Love it; absolutely love it.

I think le Carré is seen as transcending the genre because he creates a world which is very believable even though I am sure that the Circus bears no resemblance to Britain's SIS. For a certain type of high minded reader who frets about such things, books that feature stuff that manifestly don't exist (dragons, amateur detectives, starships) are bothersome. They smell of flippancy and a departure from seriousness and worthiness which is not really acceptable to a reader who views reading as a stern and proper undertaking like a Calvinist at prayer. And I love SF...

SF = Speculative Fiction. ( )
1 vote antao | Sep 29, 2018 |
It took me a while to immerse myself in the story. It was probably because I've been no longer [[Le Carré]] read more and therefore have to get used to his writing style again.
A young couple spends his holidays in Antigua. There they meet Dima a Russian money launderer on a large scale, with his whole family and entourage. Dima wants to know his family protected because he can not expect much support from the Russian money mafia anymore. It's a race with time as Dima soon signs the papers that cut him off. The British secret service, on the other hand, is taking the time to acknowledge him as a defector, as senior members of the government are involved in this money laundering.
It was an exciting quick read. ( )
  Ameise1 | Mar 4, 2018 |
This is another of those books that got thrust into my hands with a admonition that I'd "LOVE this book." Sadly, the opposite is true. I even made sure to put space between the giving and the reading to keep expectations down.

The writing itself isn't bad, which is why the book has two stars and not something lower. The execution leaves MUCH to be desired.

There are constant breaks in the text, even through the middle of the chapters, which designate the change of some form to the scene. Not bad, expect that you had to really pay attention to know if this was going to a flash back, another point of view during the same time, or some melding of the three. This is made worse when the obvious character of who's the point of view is very nebulous. I think the author wanted to write an omnipotent point of view, but this is just a muddled mess.

From what I could discern before giving up at page 102, this was an ordinary couple who took a holiday to Antigua, met a Russian money launderer who wanted out, and their conversation with MI6 after they got back to the UK.

I might try this author again, as I'm told his books are decent, but if this is his style, he won't be on my regular read list. ( )
  gilroy | Oct 30, 2017 |
Wonderfully written, with the tension slowly building throughout the story and lots of unanswered questions at the end. Brilliant. ( )
  AJBraithwaite | Aug 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Le Carré describes a shifting world where mobsters can be of use to the government, where the Secret Service doesn't care whom it sacrifices—British citizens or parts of itself—to reel in their quarry, and where the rule of law, or even what is considered to be legal, won't always apply.
added by lophuels | editThe Observer, Tim Adams (Sep 26, 2010)
Our Kind of Traitor is on an uplifting and pleasingly-familiar course, though it is one that confirms the depths of the author’s discomfort and anger at the world.
Somerset Maugham, another writer of dark spy stories, once had a character say of an aspiring grand old man of letters: "It is no good his thinking that it is enough to write one or two masterpieces; he must provide a pedestal for them of forty or fifty works of no particular consequence." Our Kind of Traitor may fall into the second category, but it's good to see Le Carré having fun as he reinforces the pedestal under his classic productions.
His most accessible work in years, this novel shows once again why his name is the one to which all others in the field are compared.
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John le Carréprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jayston, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waltman, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Princes in this case
Do hate the traitor, though they love the treason.

Samuel Daniel
In memory of
Simon Channing Williams
film-maker, magician,
honorourable man.
First words
At seven o'clock of a Caribbean morning, on the island of Antigua, one Peregrine Makepiece, otherwise known as Perry, an all-round amateur athlete of distinction and until recently tutor in English literature at a distinguished Oxford college, played three sets of tennis against a muscular, stiff-backed, bald, brown-eyed Russian man of dignified bearing in his middle fifties called Dima.
Federer is a bit perplexed about what to say - they clearly haven't met before - but he preserves his on-court nice manners, although he looks a tad irritated in a grouchy, Swiss sort of way that reminds us that his celebrated armour has its chinks.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670022241, Hardcover)

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The unrivaled master of spy fiction returns with a taut and suspenseful tale of dirty money and dirtier politics.

For nearly half a century, John le Carré's limitless imagination has enthralled millions of readers and moviegoers around the globe. From the cold war to the bitter fruits of colonialism to unrest in the Middle East, he has reinvented the spy novel again and again. Now, le Carré makes his Viking debut with a stunning tour-de- force that only a craftsman of his caliber could pen. As menacing and flawlessly paced as The Little Drummer Girl and as morally complex as The Constant Gardener, Our Kind of Traitor is signature le Carré.

Perry and Gail are idealistic and very much in love when they splurge on a tennis vacation at a posh beach resort in Antigua. But the charm begins to pall when a big-time Russian money launderer enlists their help to defect. In exchange for amnesty, Dima is ready to rat out his vory (Russian criminal brotherhood) compatriots and expose corruption throughout the so-called legitimate financial and political worlds. Soon, the guileless couple find themselves pawns in a deadly endgame whose outcome will be determined by the victor of the British Secret Service's ruthless internecine battles.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

While on holiday in Antigua with his barrister girlfriend, a young Oxford academic crosses paths with a Russian millionaire with Mafia connections who wants the young lovers to do something for him. Soon the guileless couple find themselves pawns in a deadly endgame whose outcome will be determined by the British Secret Service.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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