HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

A Small Town in Germany (1968)

by John le Carré

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,743337,487 (3.65)32
'Exciting, compulsively readable and brilliantly plotted' The New York Times The missing man: Harting, refugee background, a Junior Something in the British Embassy in Bonn. The missing files: forty-three of them, all Confidential or above. The timing: appalling and probably not accidental; radical students and neo-Nazis rioting; critical negotiations in Brussels. London's security officer, Alan Turner, is sent to Bonn to locate the missing man and files as Germany's past, present and future threaten to collide in a nightmare of violence.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 32 mentions

English (28)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
3.5⭐️ ( )
  deannachapman | Sep 15, 2021 |
Who (what?) is a spy, and who (what?) isn't?

That is the question delightfully answered by the late master of the genre. Or is it? That's the trick with this book, you never really know. That result will not be satisfying to some, and I must admit that it left me feeling vaguely unfulfilled. But Le Carre makes this little book just intriguing enough that you will want to finish it, to learn the truth.

The only problem here is, what IS the truth? And that is never really clear.

Not a typical spy novel at all, A Small Town In Germany delves into the intrigue of the spycatcher rather than the spy. A minor functionary in Britain's embassy in Bonn has gone missing, as have several secret files, all at a time critical to Britain's desire to enter the European Common Market. The rise of a German political demagogue (who may or may not be a Soviet mole attempting to move West Germany toward the Soviet sphere) plays a key role in the MI5 spycatcher's efforts to ascertain whether, in fact, the missing man was indeed a spy, or just someone who has gone AWOL for personal reasons.

The intricacies of the operation of an embassy are bared for all to see, and it isn't pretty. Who is sleeping with whose wife? Who is gay, and a potential security risk? Have all the necessary security protocols been enacted, and have they been followed? This may sound boring, but to this son of a former British spy in Germany (long dead now, sadly) it is intrigue of the highest delight.

Le Carre was surely a master. His writing style is old-worldly, driven by description, and complex. But putting oneself in the mindset of late 60's Germany, with all of its political upheavals, drives you to read this right to the bitter end. In a way, Le Carre puts you into Smiley's shoes. I enjoyed it, even if the ending wasn't really an ending in the traditional sense. Try it and see for yourself. ( )
  MHStevens | Jun 14, 2021 |
apparent defection brings investigator to Bonn embassy
  ritaer | Mar 24, 2021 |
While I enjoyed almost the entire book, I could never figure out what was supposed to have happened in the "epilogue" (which is more like an action-packed last chapter in a novel otherwise devoid of action, but I suppose was denominated "epilogue" so as to pair it with the "prologue," the only other place in the novel where Harting actually appears), despite having read it several times. No doubt I am missing something very obvious. I know who dies, but I couldn't quite follow who was doing what where and why... ( )
  gtross | Jan 23, 2021 |
Almost a mediocre effort on the part of John le Carré. The "small town in Germany" is Bonn, the erstwhile capital of West Germany. The novel does create the atmosphere that used to exist in the city, almost as if time itself was suspended, stuck in the 1950s. Yet all the while the influence of "Little America," the US Embassy and its associated estates, movie theaters, stores, and other entertainment facilities, hovered over all. Le Carré refers to this as "Coca Cola culture." Against this background, there has been an upset within the British Embassy. The down at the heels British have someone, Leo Harting, working within their building who is collecting data and stealing files. This brings in Alan Turner, whose job it is to find Harting before he makes a getaway or worse, as it turns out.

I am guessing that le Carré was much influenced by Rashomon, for his novel follows a similar structure. Each chapter consists of Turner questioning different embassy employees about Harting. And each one has a much different view of the man, his capabilities, and his aims. In the process, I'll credit the author for doing a nice job of skewering the petty jealousies, greed, and ambitions at work among British diplomats and their support staff. Turner's time with Jenny Partiger, for example, peels away her self defense and pathetic lies not so much like the layers of an onion but as with removing a single brick resulting in the collapse of an entire dam. She has been made Harting's dupe and strung along almost as if she were a teenager mooning for love. Nobody within the embassy is able to match their characters or emotions to the seriousness of their work.

Finally, there is the barely veiled attack on Kurt Kiesinger, the West German chancellor in the late 1960s. Clearly, this is who le Carré's Klaus Karfeld is supposed to mirror. The exaggerations, supposition, and outright inventions that he applies to Kiesinger/Karfeld are pretty much an embarrassment. Kiesinger's actual biography doesn't bear out the innuendo and specific charges that le Carré makes claim to.

Despite all that, the novel still works well enough as a basic thriller of sorts. ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (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)
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

'Exciting, compulsively readable and brilliantly plotted' The New York Times The missing man: Harting, refugee background, a Junior Something in the British Embassy in Bonn. The missing files: forty-three of them, all Confidential or above. The timing: appalling and probably not accidental; radical students and neo-Nazis rioting; critical negotiations in Brussels. London's security officer, Alan Turner, is sent to Bonn to locate the missing man and files as Germany's past, present and future threaten to collide in a nightmare of violence.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.65)
0.5
1 3
1.5
2 14
2.5 9
3 73
3.5 30
4 100
4.5 10
5 36

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 162,136,468 books! | Top bar: Always visible