Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Peter Guillam, continued

Bob Bridges

Years ago, when I was reading a lot of spy novels...  Ok, decades ago.  Decades ago I tried John le Carré and for some reason couldn't get into him.  I don't know why; there were other authors I liked very much: Frederick Forsyth, Alistair MacLean (please don't sneer), Robert Moss, half a dozen others.  So every so often I think I should give le Carré another chance, now that I'm older.

But in the below article I read:

Early in his writing, le Carré introduced the subversive hypothesis that the spies of East and West were two sides of the same tarnished coin, each as bad as the other. It was a stunning idea, espionage painted not in black and white but in shades of gray. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the author lost the scaffolding for his fiction. His later books are angrier, more polemical, their worldview darker, reflecting the chaotic morality of the post-Soviet era and often presenting the United States — with its exceptionalism, its flouting of international norms, as he sees it — as the villain in the post-Cold War era.

Hm, maybe I don't need to give him a retry after all.  Helen McInnes contradicted the notion, fashionable back then, that the Soviets and the West were morally equivalent, arguing vociferously at times that the attempt to enslave other countries is not morally equivalent to resisting that attempt.  Her writing wasn't quite up to what is claimed for le Carré's standards—though it's good enough to enjoy (try Horizon for example)—but I believe her outlook is closer to the truth than what's attributed to le Carré here.

You should consider starting a new thread

On Sat Aug 26, Hoyden wrote

[ This message was edited on Tue Sep 12 by the author ]

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