The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

by John le Carre

Spy

 

 

Twenty years ago when I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, my first taste of British novelist John le Carre, I described it as “endless cloak-and-dagger shenanigans that were all the rage in the 1960s.”  After reading a second le Carre novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, I am still underwhelmed.

This time, we follow British agent Leamas, who embarks on an elaborate charade to snare a villainous Cold War foe, and in the process discovers cross and double-cross.  It’s a cliché to say this, but still true:  Spy is all head, no heart.  Its central romance is shallow and its characters are either remote or unpleasant.  Yes, it’s cleverly plotted and there are some nice twists, but the downbeat tone and lack of relatable characters left me, well, cold.

 

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