domingo, 15 de dezembro de 2013
‘A Delicate Truth’ is vintage le Carré
By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY
USA TODAY Review
May 03, 2013
It's a banner year for John le Carré, master of the British spy novel. This fall will mark the 50th anniversary of his seminal novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Fall will also see the release of a film based on his 2008 novel A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe.
But right now let's celebrate this master storyteller's 23rd novel, A Delicate Truth, which once again proves that le Carré is keeping in step -- acutely so -- with the politics of the times.
Le Carré could have remained "stuck" in the Cold War era telling the mid-century tales that made him famous. The ones that pitted communist agents against Britain's brilliant (George Smiley) as well as bumbling spies. No doubt the novels would have been superbly told and his popularity would have continued to grow. Instead, le Carré challenges himself and his readers by bringing post-Cold War sensibilities to his work.
Like many of le Carré's novels, A Delicate Truth can be praised for its gorgeous writing. It's sophisticated storytelling at its very best. "Inaccessible" has been a recent criticism rained on le Carré's works, and admittedly this one takes laser focus, concentration and patience.
Here's the stripped-down plot: In 2008, a counterterrorist operation aimed at the capture of a jihadist arms buyer takes place on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. It's a joint operation involving a British Foreign Office Minster, an American CIA operative and a private defense contractor.
It goes off without a hitch. Or did it?
Fast-forward to 2011. A retired British diplomat receives information that Operation Wildlife was not as pristine an event as previously thought. The cover-up of collateral damage has deep roots. The truth of Wildlife can stay buried or the world can find out. That's the dilemma facing Sir Christopher Probyn and Toby Bell, the Foreign Office Minister's private secretary, who also gets wind of the cover-up.
Will they do the right thing for the right reasons? And even if they want to, will the British government and its conspirators take steps to prevent the truth from coming to light?
As serious as this all sounds, and it is, le Carré spends plenty of time poking fun (tinged with disgust) at the babbling justifications for keeping secrets and condoning murder that spew from the mouths of Britain's intelligence gatherers and governmental flacks.
Sure, this is fiction. But don't miss the author's "Acknowledgments" at book's end. He thanks representatives of the legal charity Reprieve "for instructing me in the British Government's latest assaults on our liberty, whether implemented or planned." He also thanks a former British diplomat "who by his example demonstrated the perils of speaking a delicate truth to power."
Posted by Francisco Augusto Vaz Brasil at 10:15