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Absolute Friends (English Edition)
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Absolute Friends (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

John le Carré

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Descriptions du produit

John le Carré's Absolute Friends is his best in years, capturing the verve and mastery of the magnificent early work. In fact, as a prelude to the book, you could do worse than reread The Spy Who Came in from the Cold again, and be forcibly reminded how le Carré transformed the spy thriller 40 or so years ago. And the consolidation of his achievement came with the George Smiley sequence (inaugurated with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). As the Cold War came to an end, le Carré seemed to be in need of a new focus for his literary universe, but this was soon to come as the author explored newer social threats, with The Constant Gardener utilising the power of the pharmaceutical companies as nemesis, and producing yet another critical and popular success.

Absolute Friends, even before publication, had some of the best word of mouth any le Carré novel had enjoyed, and every word of it was justified. As a penetrating character study, it's nonpareil, with the (very different) friends of the title brilliantly realised.

Ted Mundy is the son of a British Infantry officer who left India under a cloud after partition, while Sasha is the crippled son of a religious German family who became a star of Far Left politics in the 1960s, at which point he encounters the ungainly Ted, taught by his father--and a committed girlfriend--to loathe British imperialism and all its current offshoots. In the present, Ted finds himself acting as an eccentric tour guide at Ludwig's palaces in Bavaria. When the two men meet again, they once more become involved in clandestine activities--with lethal results. If the author's own anti-Blair/Bush feelings are sometimes foregrounded, this is still le Carré at his considerable best, and a reminder of what a great talent the UK has in this writer. --Barry Forshaw

From Publishers Weekly

Le Carre's angry, ultimately heartbreaking novel focuses on Ted Mundy, a good-natured British expat in Germany who's eking out a mundane existence guiding tourists through Bavarian castles when his longlost friend Sasha, a diminutive German anarchist, appears to offer him financial and ideological salvation. A surprisingly long flashback takes listeners from Ted and Sasha's first meeting in West Berlin in 1969 through the Cold War and, consequently, their careers as spies, before returning to Sasha's present scheme to save the world from Western imperialism. The story melds the poignant personal tale of Mundy's unwavering altruism with the author's sardonic take on the perfidy of economic globalization. Both themes are well-preserved in this seamless abridgement. No one reads Le Carre better than Le Carre. His nuances, accents and inflections are as brilliantly precise as his prose. For example, Le Carre lends Mundy's voice a note of optimistic naivet‚ that eventually ages into a soft, measured fatalism, but for the ever-aggressive Sasha, his voice takes on a nervous intensity. Mood-appropriate music serves as a bridge between chapters-a Sousa-like march here, a vaguely Beatlesque riff there-adding to this well-produced audio package.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 509 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 384 pages
  • Editeur : Sceptre; Édition : New Ed (16 octobre 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002V092KQ
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°74.273 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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66 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Just to the Left of Vintage LeCarre 1 mars 2004
Par Gary Griffiths - Publié sur
So let's get the politics out of the way first: LeCarre clearly is in vehement opposition the war in Iraq, supports the notion of American "imperialism", and apparently counts himself among the European neo-socialist elites. Too bad, and surely enough to infuriate me often enough while reading "Absolute Friends". But despite the anti-American rhetoric in LeCarre's latest work, he is still by far the most convincing and accomplished spy-writer of our times and, as "Friends" is proof, still capable of spinning an engrossing and thought-provoking tale.

"Friends" traces the lives of two aging radicals, very different in their backgrounds but very much the same in their commitment to all causes counter-establishment. Ted Mundy, Pakistan-born ex-pat son of a patriotic but delusional British Army major, is barely making it in modern day Germany as a tour guide. Living with a former Turkish prostitute common law wife and her son, Mundy flirts with Islam while maintaining his British roots but, paradoxically, still showing glimpses of apologetic pride in his British heritage. The "absolute friend", Sasha, is an unrepentant and idealistic German radical for life. LeCarre takes the reader back to late-60's Berlin, where Mundy and Sasha meet as students, forging a friendship based in anti-establishment and anti-war idealism. Fast-forward a decade, where we find Mundy and Sasha drones of the very bureaucracies they once despised. Mundy serves as a British Council official dealing with cultural exchanges to Eastern Europe, while Sasha holds a position in the East German Communist regime. Disillusioned by the differences between the communism of theory and the Communism of the Soviet Bloc, Sasha begins spying on the Eastern Bloc for the west. Naturally, Mundy becomes his contact, passing Sasha's stolen secrets on to British intelligence while spreading western disinformation back to the Soviets through Sasha. Following the end of the Cold War, Mundy and Sasha part ways again, only to be drawn back together by Sasha's contact with the mysterious "Demetri", supposedly a wealthy industrialist hoping to repent for the riches he has earned by re-stoking radical sparks still burning, especially in Sasha.

This is an ambitious effort, even for the veteran spymaster LeCarre. "Friends" spans nearly four decades of life inside the activist movement, as well as within LeCarre's familiar territory of Cold War espionage. As always, LeCarre's characters are painstakingly developed and all too real in their shortcomings and foibles - expect no "James Bonds" in LeCarre fiction. Plots are so well constructed that at times almost bog down in the detail, but some tedium is a small price for a well-tuned conclusion. The payoff may frustrate conservatives, while delighting the conspiracy buff or those more liberal-leaning readers. But regardless of your political views, "Absolute Friends" is a well crafted, thought-provoking window into the events of the past forty years. In the final analysis, you shouldn't have to believe in the plausibility of a conspiracy or the political slant of the author to enjoy the journey and appreciate a fine writer's mastery of the topic.
30 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Literary thriller with problems 25 janvier 2005
Par Curiosity #3 - Publié sur
This is indeed not your typical Le Carre story. It is more literary than commercial - hence some of the negative reviews here complaining of boredom. Don't read it if you want something fast-paced and suspenseful. The suspense in this one builds very slowly. What this story lives from is the study of two characters whose lives remain intertwined through the second half of the cold war until today, and in which they play some role in the big game of espionage. It is also a mini-study of political Germany of the same period. The achievement of this book is something I have never seen from an English-language writer before: true grasp of Germany's political culture, its language and people (I am German myself). It wasn't always like this: in earlier novels Le Carre, too, has misspelt words and names, and altogether given too shallow an interpretation of what was happening. This book however is a quantum leap in that sense. Le Carre's understanding of German radical leftist thinking, language and actual history is uncanny. This is perhaps the only chance you get to hear the voices of the far left speak in its original tone - but in English.

The greatest failing of this story is that it builds so slowly and then comes to a sudden, abrupt and not very convincing end. The (evil) American operation that concludes the book is absurd and could never happen in this shape. The Americans wouldn't try it, and German authorities would never allow it. Le Carre has tried to make a point of course, but I didn't feel he made it very well.

I would, however, like to make one comment on the accusation that this book is somehow "anti-American". This is only true if any book that is critical of a specific German/French/Russian government's actions is "anti-German/French/Russian". In other words, it is not.
29 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 interesting who doesn't like the book! 20 juillet 2005
Par L. M. Lemieux - Publié sur
I actually think this book is as good as "lord jim" by joseph conrad. I loved le carre when he was conservative. I love him now when he seems to have moved left. I love him because he knows how to make you care for a character a lot, and then, without compunction, destroys that character.

The people who hate this book seem to hate it because they disagree with its politics. That's like me saying the bible is a stupid book because I don't believe in Jesus. this is brilliantly written, and yes, the ending is VERY believable. the exact same thing happened in Germany to convince the Germans they were under threat. IF you don't study history you're bound to repeat it, as they say. I was blown away by this fantastic coup. Keep up the good work, mr. Le Carre.
19 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Anti-Fundamentalism - not Anti-American 26 avril 2004
Par David R McConnaughey - Publié sur
The underlying theme of "Absolute Friends" is a profound fear and distrust of "fundamentalism" in all its guises; whether found in Islamic terrorist movements or in the "In God We Trust" born again "true believers" who le Carre sees as having hijacked power in America. The protagonists, as always w/ le Carre, are carefully and lovingly drawn. Le Carre yearns, in a sense, for the moral ambiguity that underpinned his cold war spy novels. He finds the "fundamentalism" the fuels actions based on simplistic conviction far scarier than the ideological complexity and confusion that drove much of post WWII history before the last decade. Islamic fundamentalism and its equally evil twin, and twined foe, Christian "evangelical" fundamentalism (which he sees in power in the US today), are ...well just made for each other and the destruction of "decency" that uncertainty can engender.
78 internautes sur 99 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of Le Carre's best books 6 janvier 2004
Par Vasileios Masselos - Publié sur
Le Carre's latest masterpiece spans three historical periods. The hero, Ted Mundy was born in Pakistan when the British Empire was crumbling, got a public school education in a changing England, went to Oxford and then on to Berlin where he met his fellow radical Shasha, forming an "absolute friendship". He and Shasha eventually formed a highly successfull spy pair during the Cold War, a period of ideological clarity as to what was right or wrong. After the fall of the Berlin war Ted finds himself a partner in a language school and, after this fails miserably, he works as a tour guide in one of Mad Ludwig's castles in Bavaria. Shasha reappears and they find themselves involved again, this time in a war-in-Iraq related operation. Only now things are not clear as to what is right or wrong. To quote Shasha "..the coalition has broken half the rules in the international law books, and intends by its continued occupation of Iraq to break the other half". Le Carre is [rightly so] highly critical of what the coalition is doing in Iraq, his thoughts full of the wisdom of a man whose life spans the same periods with the book's hero. This is not only a superb story of friendship, a historical novel, a well written spy thriller but also a cry of anguish of an educated citizen of the world caused by the post 9/11 state of world affairs.
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