Cover image for Absolute friends
Title:
Absolute friends
Author:
Le Carré, John, 1931-
Personal Author:
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
[Boston, Mass.] : Little, Brown & Co., [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
668 pages (large print) ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780316000697
Format :
Book

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LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
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Summary

Summary

Carre's eloquent indignation at what he sees as a duplicitous war in Iraq and the devious means employed to tarnish those who oppose it is turned into a fictional account of two former spies trying to do right in a post-Cold War world.


Author Notes

David John Moore Cornwell was born in Poole, Dorsetshire, England in 1931. He attended Bern University in Switzerland from 1948-49 and later completed a B.A. at Lincoln College, Oxford. He taught at Eton from 1956-58 and was a member of the British Foreign Service from 1959 to 1964.

He writes espionage thrillers under the pseudonym John le Carré. The pseudonym was necessary when he began writing, in the early 1960s because, at that time, he held a diplomatic position with the British Foreign Office and was not allowed to publish under his own name. When his third book, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, became a worldwide bestseller in 1964, he left the foreign service to write full time. His other works include Call for the Dead; A Murder of Quality; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and Smiley's People.

He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1986 and the Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association in 1988. Several of his books have been adapted for television and motion pictures including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Russia House, and The Constant Gardener.

Le Carré's memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from my Life, became a New York Times bestseller ist in 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography) John le Carre was born in 1931. After attending the univesities of Berne and Oxford, he spent five years in the British Foreign Service. He's the author of eighteen novels, translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in England.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

There has been a linear evolution in the mind-set of le Carre's spies over the years--from agonizing over the moral ambiguity of the craft set against a firm belief in its necessity (the Smiley novels), through opting to place individual values over national ones ( A Perfect Spy and Russia House), to recognizing that bureaucracy has poisoned the intelligence business from within (the post-cold war novels). Now, driven by recent world events, that evolution takes an even more radical step--to the realization that ideology is irrelevant, that powerful governments are an evil unto themselves, forever the enemy of individual life. It is a harrowing journey to that somber knowledge for Ted Mundy, expatriate son of a British army officer, and his absolute friend, the crippled German radical Sasha, whose idealism finally engenders its own chaos and makes him easy prey for the powerful. Jumping backward and forward in time, le Carre reveals the history of a friendship in the context of a lifetime of commitment gone sour: student radicalism in Berlin during the '60s; active spying for the West during the waning years of the cold war; and, finally, a parting of the ways, with Sasha continuing to search for the revolution of his dreams while Teddy finds a separate peace. But Iraq and a reunion with his friend reignite Teddy's fervor, paving the way for the inevitable tragedy. Yes, le Carre uses Teddy as a mouthpiece for some strong political opinions (the U.S. is described as a hyperpower that thinks it can treat the rest of the world as its allotment ), but the novel never becomes the author's soapbox. The human story remains paramount, even if the chilling message is that human stories don't stand much of a chance in the world as we find it. --Bill Ott Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Le Carr? may have changed publishers, but his latest novel remains as resolutely up-to-date as ever. In place of the old Cold War games, his recent books have dealt with the depredations of international arms merchants and the impact of predatory drug manufacturers on the Third World. Now his eloquent and white-hot indignation is turned on what he sees as a duplicitous war in Iraq and the devious means employed to tarnish those who oppose it. The friends of the title are two beautifully realized characters, both idealists in their very different ways. Ted Mundy, the bighearted son of a pukka Indian Army officer, leads a life in which his inborn kindliness and lack of self-regard are turned to what he sees as good causes. With Sasha, the crippled son of an old Nazi who turns bitterly against that past only to be tormented by the rise of a new brutalism in East Germany, he forms a double-agent partnership that feeds British intelligence during the Cold War years. With the collapse of the Soviet system, Ted is at loose ends, trying both to make ends meet as a cheery tour guide for English-speaking visitors to Mad Ludwig's castle in Bavaria and to support his Muslim wife and her small son in Munich. Suddenly he hears again from Sasha, who tells him that a mysterious benefactor wishes to enlist his services as teacher and translator to counter the widespread propaganda on behalf of an Iraqi war, and he is inflamed once more with a desire to help. The grim consequences are spelled out by le Carr? with a deadly fury that is startling in the context of his usual urbanity. With a largely German setting that recalls some of his earliest books, as well as the same embracing clarity of vision about human motives and failings that gleams through all his best work, this is a book that offers a bitter warning even as it delivers immense reading pleasure. (One-day laydown Jan. 12) Forecast: No reader, whatever his politics, could fail to be moved by the passion and intelligence of le Carr?'s latest. For those who feel as he does about the war and its consequences, this book will be a special gift. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Meet Ted Mundy, "actor, novelist, befriender, major's son, misfit, dreamer and pretender," going about his job as a tour guide in one of Mad King Ludwig's Bavarian castles when an old comrade emerges from the shadows. Sasha is a charismatic firebrand who has ruddered Mundy's eventful odyssey on two of its major courses-those of radical and spy-and is now recruiting for a bold and improbable plan to save the world. For many readers, it will be enough to say that this is excellent le Carre, with a beguilingly oblique approach to story, intriguing and morally complex characters, penetrating wit, deft turns of phrase, and a nuanced synthesis of personal and political concerns. As the catastrophe approaches, politics gains the upper hand, and it is no small surprise that the biggest villain on the present world stage turns out to be a certain "renegade hyperpower that thinks it can treat the rest of the world as its allotment." While this pointed morality may seem abrupt to readers rapt in the author's wonted, murky casuistry and all-embracing skepticism, one can hardly fault such a skilled and perceptive storyteller for bringing a conscience into the bargain. Highly recommended.-David Wright, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.