terça-feira, 25 de junho de 2013
THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL
By John le Carre
By Anatole Broyard
February 25, 1983
430 pages. Knopf. $15.95
IRONY, ambiguity, suspicion and betrayal - these are the rather baroque materials that John le Carre has conjured with in his previous novels. The tragicomedy of politics, the paranoia brought on by loneliness, the sifting and sifting of phenomena to try to find the ruling passion beneath or behind them.
Women were the Achilles heel of George Smiley, whose code name was ''the Vicar,'' and of his Soviet opponent Karla, known as ''the Priest.'' For all their dedicated asceticism, Smiley loved his wife, who was offended by his purity, and Karla became vulnerable through his devotion to his schizophrenic daughter.
In ''The Little Drummer Girl,'' all that is changed. Women now play active, not passive roles in politics. And the ''mole,'' the buried agent, has been replaced by the terrorist. It is as if Mr. le Carre has had enough of British politics, as if he feels that neither Britain nor the Soviet Union is at the hot center of things anymore, that their functioning has grown so unwieldy, like certain prehistoric animals, that they can hardly move us.
In pitting Israeli intelligence against Palestinian terrorists, Mr. le Carre seems to want to get out of Smiley's mind and into the world of action. It's as if all the flamboyance he has so carefully repressed all these years is finally bursting out. In ''The Little Drummer Girl,'' he seems almost to be reborn as a novelist, and for all our admiration of his earlier books, it must be said at once that the change has done him a world of good.
Always before, it was a bit of an effort to get into his books. One paused and asked, ''Shall I enter this dark labyrinth?'' and it was only after 100 pages that the beginnings of a complicated pleasure began. It's not this way, though, in ''The Little Drummer Girl,'' which is wildly - in the best sense - theatrical. It is, in fact, a love story in which sex is both an instrument of destruction and redemption.
The Palestinian terrorists have been using beautiful European young women to deliver bombs. These young women are pseudo-activists, more strongly motivated by their passion for Michel, the handsome and virile younger brother of the Palestinian terrorist leader than by a passion for truth or justice. For them, a bomb is another thrill, a metaphor, a gesture.
Kurtz, an Israeli intelligence officer, decides to adapt the terrorists' innovation to his own purposes, and sends Joseph, his handsomest agent, to Mikonos to recruit Charlie, an attractive, moderately promiscuous British actress with a history of radical flirtation.
It is not giving away too much of Mr. le Carre's splendid plot to reveal that Charlie is trained to be Michel's alleged last mistress. Joseph, her control, relives with her all the events of their fictional romance, which he and Charlie imaginatively reconstruct. Since Michel is about to be killed, Charlie is to pose as his ''widow,'' and wait to be recruited by the terrorists.
Before she can be persuaded to do all this, she must first be convinced that Israel is right and the terrorists are wrong. As soon as she is convinced, though, she must reverse her beliefs in order to play Michel's widow with conviction. This is ''the theater of the real'' with a vengeance, and Charlie is marvelous. She is the emotional opposite of Smiley's wife, Anne. In her role as the lover or mistress of both sides, Charlie is the ultimate double agent, one who actually believes in both sides.
This device is also a perfect excuse for Mr. le Carre to present both factions - Israeli and Palestinian -without taking sides himself. If there is a villain in ''The Little Drummer Girl,'' it is only history. Politics here is the ultimate theater, and Charlie is the final femme fatale. She feels both the terror of politics and the terror of love. We see, too, that love is a fiction, created by Joseph and Charlie together - but the fiction becomes autonomous and can no longer be confined to them alone.
Joseph helps to recruit Charlie by taking her to the Acropolis on a moonlit night. He says, in effect, that this is the world they are trying to save. But the Palestinians have their images of beauty, too, and sometimes it seems in this irresistible book that this is what we are all fighting for: the beauty of life and nothing else.
It would be a shame to call ''The Little Drummer Girl'' a novel of espionage, though it has all the virtues of one - so let's say instead that it is about whether love and beauty are proof against bombs and, if they are, how they can be used to repair the damage.
Illustrations: photo of John le Carre
Posted by Francisco Augusto Vaz Brasil at 18:43