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Silverview: A Novel de John Le Carré
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Silverview: A Novel (edició 2021)

de John Le Carré (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2331191,575 (3.86)8
Membre:dandydancing
Títol:Silverview: A Novel
Autors:John Le Carré (Autor)
Informació:Viking (2021), 224 pages
Col·leccions:Owen, La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Silverview de John le Carré

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» Mira també 8 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 11 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This novel was unfinished when the author passed. The narrative method of interrogation and investigation resembles The Honourable Schoolboy. ( )
  BraveKelso | Nov 22, 2021 |
vintage John le Carre, his last (complete) spy thriller published after his demise. From page one onwards one wallows in the hands of a crafty narrator, revealing layer upon layer of backstory, leading you by the hand into the dark and murky world of spy craft, faith and betrayal.

Le Carre applies his trademark story-telling skills, starting with a retired day trader from the City, who settles to a life as a bookseller in a quiet seaside village in East Anglia. In walks a respectable Polish gentleman spy who charms his way into young Julian’s life with old-fashioned manners of speech and quiet reassurance. The Republic of Letters is born, a joint classic book collection and selling project, which incidentally also aids our Polish spy, Edward Avon, to communicate with his network. Which network? That only becomes clear much, much later.

Julian becomes an innocent pawn in one of those historic leaks in British Intelligence. Once the leak has been discovered, the chase is on, with Stewart Proctor, a typical restrained upper class spymaster burrowing backwards into the life of one his first and most valuable Joes, the very Edward Avon (aka Florian) of the classic collection of Ming vases and recently of literary treasures. The backstory touches upon Florian’s Polish Nazi father, his strong anti-fascist and anti-Imperialist idealism, which is turned on its head once he spends a year in Gdansk, when he perceives communism to be a form of advanced connery and starts spying for the British. After the fall of the wall his spy career seems over, until his past stint as a teacher in Croatia and his knowledge of languages, proves useful during the Bosnian war. Here he finds a new cause, which leads him astray from the British, though he is married to an English lady spy, head of the Middle East desk, and settles for a sedate life in a manor (Silverview) at the edge of the village of our new bookseller. And there we go.

The only pity is the briefness of this last Le Carre – in fact the story is quite thin, with no real tradecraft in action. ( )
  alexbolding | Nov 17, 2021 |
This is my first le Carre book. At the age of 71, it’s taken me this long to jump into the le Carre pool. Most reviews of “Silverview” say it is as good as the author’s other books. The friend who recommended le Carre, any le Carre, agreed with that statement. I’ve heard that many fans felt this was an inferior book, and that is the reason le Carre decided never to publish it. His son says in the Afterward that this just isn’t true. It has more to do with the novel’s story about British intelligence and its failings. I gave “Silverview” three of five stars because I just flat out had trouble following the plot. This may be due to my inexperience with the genre in general and with le Carre specifically. I admit that my book of choice throughout my life has been nonfiction. I want to learn something new from my reading. That may be part of the problem with my difficulty following the plot line in “Silverview.” I will take it on better opinion than my own that the book is a typical le Carre masterpiece. Just not for me. ( )
  DanDiercks | Nov 16, 2021 |
Years ago, I never missed a new John le Carré book, but in more recent times, I haven’t been between the covers of any of his books. When the press started up about his 26th book, Silverview, his last novel completed in the ten years before his death, December of 2020, I noticed it. But it wasn’t until I learned that it was somehow centered around a small British bookshop, that I became quite curious. The existence of this review reveals the final level of my curiosity.

We are told that his character, Julian Lawndsley, had been a very successful trader in London before he became a bookseller in a small English town on the coast. As he said, “I have forsaken the glitter of gold for the scent of old paper.” Shortly after his change of location and lifestyle, a man named Edward Avon walks into Lawndsley’s bookshop, and after browsing, casually offered him some advice and a possible investment. He’s a Polish émigré, a retired academic, an old colleague of Julian’s father. In time, he supplies plenty of curious banter, a computer, and some assistance in developing a certain section, to be called the Republic of Literature, which would feature the classics of the great thinkers and authors. Along the way, he asks for a few small favors of Julian, delivering a package to Edward’s mother, and to use the computer he supplied the shop.

Things began to change, and soon Julian learns that his new friend and investor was a former member of M16, Britain’s foreign intelligence service. He also learns that Edward loves two women, one a longtime mistress, and his wife Deborah, who is nearing death from cancer.

After watching my own wife suffer and succumb to cancer, John le Carré impressed me with the following line. “Edward has, as might any man whose wife is dying: the gaze is more inward, the jaw is crisper and the more determined for it, the flowing white hair more disciplined.” When Deborah’s time seems to be running out, le Carré wrote something that again was sadly very familiar to me. “But it could be any day. She knows that, and she doesn’t like pity. She speaks what she thinks and she thinks a lot, so anything can happen, okay?” Soon she is in a morphine-assisted coma and, “Around midnight her doctor certified life extinct.”

How the reader connects with a book can be very personal, and Silverview reached out to me in several ways that were non-crucial to the plot, but drew this particular reader close. Having owned a bookshop that moved and reestablished itself in four new locations, the following line about Julian struck home. “After six weeks of running a stagnant business, he has become quite the connoisseur of people who stare at the shop and don’t come in, and they are beginning to get on his nerves.” While I’m talking about observations that felt so right, the following line brought a smile and sadness to me, a man who was lucky enough to be married to a beautiful woman with a fabulous mane of hair. “Ellen unpins her incomparable auburn hair and lets it cascade over her shoulders, as practiced by beautiful women since the beginning of time.”

“Meanwhile, Edward is being investigated by the service’s head of domestic security, Stewart Proctor.” And with that le Carré adds another major layer to the story, which is what I always loved about his books. It doesn’t take long before Proctor seems to be on a collision course with Edward, and our shopkeeper Julian is caught in the middle of it all.

When things suddenly don’t go as planned, and Edward isn’t where he was expected to be, Proctor sends out his entire team of watchers to scour the area for him. The most important of their instructions is that if they find Edward, “they should restrain him, employing minimal force, but in no circumstances hand him over to the police or anyone else until Proctor has had an opportunity to talk to him.” The old spies are portrayed as decent people who, at the end of their lives, realize their life’s work has accomplished nothing. The book’s last surprise is from Julian’s daughter Lily, who has had a larger role than either the reader or her father knew of.

In a number of reviews people have wondered aloud if because of the brevity of the book, and its sudden ending, if the author had actually finished the manuscript. The New York Times was more generous than I when they said: “And if ‘Silverview’ feels less than fully executed, its sense of moral ambivalence remains exquisitely calibrated. Besides, novelists of le Carré’s stature are not diminished by their lesser efforts.” The Guardian said it like this, “If we’re left dangling by the end, there’s an added tease of sorts in the novel’s billing as le Carré’s “last complete masterwork” – on the strong side, no doubt, but a tag that nonetheless holds out the prospect of rougher treasures still awaiting the light.” I wasn’t feeling satisfied by the way the book wrapped up, and I was also feeling like I was missing something all along. Had my long absence from his writing created an expectation for more than had ever really been there before, or was I not remembering things accurately. Just maybe I need to reach back to a favorite le Carré.

But the story continues in a way in the book’s afterword, which is written by the author’s youngest son, Nick Cornwell. Nick is also a writer, one who writes under the name Nick Harkway. He tells of a promise that he made to his dad about taking this completed manuscript through to publication. “I read it, and my bewilderment deepened. It was fearsomely good.” It was with great relief that he found his father’s book only in need of some minor editing, prompting him to ask, “What, exactly, was I supposed to fix? Should I put eyebrows on this Mona Lisa?”

Nick writes about how his dad was, as always, striving to tell a good story and to tell the truth. Nick continues about his father’s legacy. “But Silverview does something that no other le Carré novel ever has. It shows a service fragmented: filled with its own political factions.” And he adds: “In Silverview, the spies of Britain have, like many of us, lost their certainty about what the country means, and who we are to ourselves.”

I have purposely not given many details of the book’s plot, (go on, buy a book), but overall, it’s a simpler book than many of his previous. As with any spy novel, we are always left with judging how much are we to believe? What do we know for sure? ( )
  jphamilton | Nov 15, 2021 |
2021 Book #70. 2021. John Le Carre's last book, he passed last Dec. I normally like his books. This started off good about an ex-spy being investigated for something but the book just abruptly ended before I really understood what was going on. Kind of disappointed. ( )
  capewood | Nov 11, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 11 (següent | mostra-les totes)
While it's perhaps true that the posthumous publications of the recently deceased have a tendency to be more or less reviewer-proof, the good news is that Silverview, the 26th novel from John le Carré, who died last December, aged 89, offers plenty to enjoy and admire. Crisp prose, a precision-tooled plot, the heady sense of an inside track on a shadowy world... all his usual pleasures are here, although it can’t be ignored that they're aren’t always quite in sync. ...

Ultimately, Silverview unspools as a cat-and-mouse chase narrative, with the novel's dual perspective putting us in the control room, one step ahead of the characters, able to see the bigger picture, albeit heavily pixellated until the final pages. Such are the layers of irony that it's easy to forget that the sting in the tale was already delivered upfront, in an enigmatic opening shorn of vital context. Suffice to say that, in the typically male world of le Carré's fiction, the defining act this time turns on the vexed filial loyalty between a mother and daughter.

If we're left dangling by the end, there’s an added tease of sorts in the novel’s billing as le Carré's "last complete masterwork" – on the strong side, no doubt, but a tag that nonetheless holds out the prospect of rougher treasures still awaiting the light.
afegit per Cynfelyn | editaThe Guardian, Anthony Cummins (Oct 12, 2021)
 
First-rate prose and a fascinating plot distinguish the final novel from MWA Grand Master le Carré (1931–2020). Two months after leaving a banking job in London, 33-year-old Julian Lawndsley gets a visit from an eccentric customer, Edward Avon, just before closing time at the bookshop Julian now runs in East Anglia. When Julian asks the man what he does, he replies, “Let us say I am a British mongrel, retired, a former academic of no merit and one of life’s odd-job men.” The next morning, Julian runs into Edward at the local café, where Edward claims he knew Julian’s late father at Oxford. Julian later learns that Edward, a Polish emigré, was recruited into the Service years before. Julian senses something is off, as does the head of Domestic Security for the Service, who’s investigating Edward’s wife, an Arabist and outstanding Service intelligence analyst. While laying out the Avons’ intriguing backstories and their current activities, le Carré highlights the evils spies and governments have perpetrated on the world. Many readers will think the book is unfinished—it ends abruptly—but few will find it unsatisfying. This is a fitting coda to a remarkable career.
afegit per VivienneR | editaPublisher's Weekly (Mar 13, 2021)
 
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