15. A Perfect Spy, John Le Carre

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15. A Perfect Spy, John Le Carre

Post  jrpstonecarver on Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:11 am

This one came off my shelf to make some room, as it's a moderately hefty hard back tome. My previous time with Le Carre has been OK, and I guess that's what I'd have to say about this one.

A Perfect Spy is essentially an exercise in back story and character development. In large measure, nothing really happens in here, and I found that a bit off putting. It wasn't terrible, but I did spend a bit of time wondering if anything - other than the rather predictable ending - would happen.

In previous books I've reviewed by Le Carre I've seen an odd problem: at times he randomly changes the point of view. It can be a bit bizarre to suddenly realize that we've gone from omniscient narrator to the limited point of view of some body guard. Thankfully I didn't note that in A Perfect Spy. Instead I had different problem.

The main character, Magnus Pym, has a somewhat split personality. In his role as narrator he regularly refers to himself as if he was someone else. This gets confusing and it took me nearly 100 pages to catch on. I kept wondering if there was some other character present that I'd somehow missed. Finally, though, I got it. I may be more than a bit dense - others might have recognized what was going on a lot faster - but it really slowed me down until I figured it out.

Other than that, I didn't really note anything all that good or bad. As I say, the ending was fairly predictable, but once you meet Pym and get the gist of where he is in life the ending is just about a given.

If you're into cold war spy stories you might enjoy this. If that isn't your bag, then you can probably give this one a pass.
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