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A Delicate Truth: A Novel – tekijä: John…
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A Delicate Truth: A Novel (vuoden 2013 painos)

– tekijä: John le Carre

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,3166210,800 (3.8)44
2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far-right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it. Cornwall, UK, 2011. A disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be--or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? Summoned by Sir Christopher ("Kit") Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely observed by Kit's beautiful daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary to the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, how can he keep silent?… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:YogiABB
Teoksen nimi:A Delicate Truth: A Novel
Kirjailijat:John le Carre
Info:Viking Adult (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 320 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):*****
Avainsanoja:Supense, Thriller, Murder, Spy, Espionage, Fiction

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englanti (53)  tanska (3)  hollanti (3)  saksa (1)  italia (1)  Kaikki kielet (61)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 61) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
First time I've seen a happy ending in a le Carre novel. The hero survives and gets the girl. He blows the whistle on the UK government. There's no epilogue so I assume they are immediately caught, the leak denied and they die after being tortured in some CIA facility. ( )
  Paul_S | Mar 14, 2021 |
Full disclosure: I simply adore John le Carre's works. His George Smiley novels had me enthralled and enraptured all of last summer, and that was only the Karla trilogy. It's a bit odd for me to read a non-Smiley novel by Mister le Carre but gosh, after a while I don't care that my favorite middle-aged Circus member isn't even mentioned, that's how good A DELICATE TRUTH IS. (And naturally, it was odd to read something by le Carre that wasn't set during the Cold War. Cell phones? Texting? Flash drives? You don't say!)

A DELICATE TRUTH has all the hallmarks of a cracking good mystery: espionage, terrorism, a massive cover-up on multiple levels, secret recordings, false identities, and a great deal of sneaking about by folks good and bad. In the center we find out unlikely protagonist, Toby Bell, a civil servant who would probably wish to do anything else but risk his job (and his life) trying to uncover the truth of Operation Wildlife. As the events of three years ago come to haunt the various characters, it's up to Toby Bell to answer the call that all great men must answer eventually if they are in a John le Carre novel: stick your neck out for the greater good or abandon your conscience in the name of Queen and country.

The only thing that threw me off was the switching between three years ago and present time, because for me, the switches weren't telegraphed enough and left me confused at times. Other than that, A DELICATE TRUTH is a great read for fans of the spy novel. Toby Bell isn't the unflinching owl-eyed man that George Smiley is but he's certainly a character worth following for the length of a novel, hoping he doesn't end up dead by book's end. And believe me, there are moments when you think it's almost the end for him! In a genre where the righteous and noble always seem to win out, John le Carre proves that sometimes the righteous get edged out by the ambitious and the morally bankrupt.

Note: This book is an advanced uncorrected proof and was given to me through Viking Books and the Goodreads' First Reads program. I received no monetary compensation for the writing of this review. ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Review of the Penguin Canada paperback edition (April 2014) of the original Viking hardcover (April 2013

A Delicate Truth (2013) was again a strong novel by John le Carré and I enjoyed it as much as Agent Running in the Field (2019). So the contradictions and seeming errors contained in A Legacy of Spies (2017) are perhaps due to some sort of a revisionist examination of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963) and not the failings of a careless writer and an inefficient editor. I've yet to come to terms with A Legacy of Spies and have held off on writing a review except for the lede that captured my initial angry reaction.

Somewhat like Agent Running in the Field, A Delicate Truth centres on an older and a younger protagonist. Sir Christopher ("Kit") Probyn and Toby Bell are however staff of the Foreign Office rather the Secret Intelligence Services. Several years previously, Probyn had played an undercover role in a supposed terrorist extradition in Gibraltar (taking place in 2008). Bell was a secretary to the junior government minister who was involved. Both of them go on to further careers without fully understanding what had actually occurred. In Probyn's retirement, a chance meeting will cause the conspiracy to unravel.

Carré continued here with his late career bitterness with governments and corrupted spy agencies, be they privatized mercenaries or publicly funded institutions. The corruption of the then New Labour government by shadowy forces funded by the American far-right/neo-con forces is the key target.

I read A Delicate Truth due to the recent passing of novelist John le Carré (penname of David Cornwell) (October 19, 1931 – December 12, 2020). His death brought back memories of my first readings of his Cold War novels in the 1970s. Those were probably the first books of somewhat 'serious' writing that I had ever read, after developing an early love of reading with detective and science fiction novels in my teenage years. In addition to my re-reads of his early novels, I'm going to read several of his later works which I did not read at the time of release. ( )
  alanteder | Feb 22, 2021 |
In this book, Le Carré continues his theme of updating the spy novel by focusing on its contemporary forms. In this case, his target is the private broker trading information and muscle with government operators who prefer to keep things out of the public eye.
With his usual understated style, he directs considerable anger at those who do undercover operations for money – clearly separating them from those in the official business who do necessary bad stuff on principle. In his cold war novels, there is a distinct ambivalence about doing nasty things in the service of the state. You do what you have to do to prevent a worse outcome, but you become morally compromised and that bothers you. The novels with more modern themes don’t have that ambivalence. The perpetrators are self-interested venal thieves and murderers with links into the spy world. In this story, they have enticed an ambitious, and equally venal, junior minister into a poorly judged and poorly executed scheme. The minister loses his political future, his staffers are shifted out to plumb positions where they won’t be around to raise any questions, and the private brokers carry on in apparent luxury. Interestingly, it seems to be the state security service who cleans things up to avoid embarassing the government.
While this is the scene, the attention is really on the decent Britons who are entrapped in the scheme without being aware of it. When they get wind that things did not go as they were told, they want to put things right. Of course, this will involve significant cost to themselves, and the barriers they have to overcome make up the bulk of the novel. This part is Le Carré’s familiar storytelling, low-key spycraft slowly leading to a conclusion. His oblique style of dialogue is also familiar here, with characters carefully saying one thing in a chummy middle-class voice and meaning something other. Perhaps this is how it’s done in this world.
For Le Carré, these decent Britons are the flawed heros of the story. They are not perfect – they have second thoughts, they wonder if it’s worth it, they are distracted. For this novel, they seem a bit too decent. They choose to do the right thing, knowing that there will be consequences. In his other novels, Le Carré’s characters seem to do what they have to do because they don’t have a choice. The situations force them to make the only choice they can short of selling out. While I don’t doubt that there are decent honorable civil servants in Britain, this sort of purity makes the story line a little questionable.
And then there’s the moral dis-equivalency. State agencies, including the British security services, carry out operations to protect their interests and the interests of their political superiors. To what extent does it matter that the operations are carried out by mercenaries? Are the controls really set to a higher standard for state actors than for their hirelings? I do think that there is a potential for greater control when government oversight is involved but there’s also a potential for greater self-justification. But does that justify the level of outrage that Le Carré reflects here? Or, to go deeper, how is the combination of state and private action in this story different from the machinations against the operations of the Cold War enemies? Is it worse now because the targets are vaguely defined potential terrorists from a string of Muslim countries? Le Carré seems to think so, and perhaps he is right, but with a writer who seems to insist on a moral standard these are questions that make me question the initial premiss of the book.
In any case, at least these are questions that the story raises, unlike the action-oriented focus of many other spy stories. ( )
  rab1953 | Feb 10, 2021 |
I came late to John Le Carré, falling in love with his prose storytelling style upon my first encounter with them when, last year, I read his remarkable novel "A Legacy of Spies",

Naturally, I had to have at least one Le Carré in my Summer of Spies reading challenge this year, I picked "A Delicate Truth" because, published in 2013, it was his next most recent book and because the audiobook version that I listened to was narrated by Le Carré himself.

I found the novel very satisfying both because the world it describes is frighteningly plausible without ever becoming melodramatic and because the cadence of Le Carré's prose and his nuanced use of language, especially in dialogue call to something in me in the same way that the best music does.

In some ways, this is not a very dramatic tale. It covers poorly conceived, disastrously executed and robustly covered-up covert operation. The body count is low by genre standards. There are no car chases. No desperate gun battles on the streets of London. No evil genius strapping our hero to a table to be dissected by an industrial laser. Yet the import of what it describes is truly disturbing.

The tale starts slowly satisfyingly, by establishing the point of view of a mature senior Civil Servant in the FCO, pulled in over his head by an ambitious Minister, to oversee a covert operation in Gibraltar.

As I watched the stolidly upper-middle class civil servant, son of a general, married to money, well-educated but only moderately accomplished, thrill, in an appropriately low-key it-wouldn't-be-good-form-to-express-my-feelings kind of way, to the opportunity to serve his country, even if that meant obeying a bullying, egocentric, self-serving Minister, I understood that Le Carré's England is not mine or, at least, not an England I want to tolerate.

I recognise that it's real enough. It's the kind of England the odious Boris Johnson and the surprisingly dangerous Jacob Rees-Mogg want to drag us all back into so that they can live the Eton dream while the rest of us touch our forelocks and hope to keep our jobs.

It's an England where the under-funded State is preyed upon by billion dollar Private Military Corporations that are contracted to kidnap and kill with an impunity secured by anti-terror legislation that has eroded public accountability to the point of non-existence.

Le Carré describes the people of this world with great precision and insight without ever once straying into empathy. I admire that.

Nothing in the content of Le Carrè's story surprised me, a fact I find deeply depressing, but it acted as a reminder of how the clannish secrecy of an entitled ruling class mixes with the greed and egocentricity of politicians whose eyes are the revolving door into high-flying commerce to create something fundamentally corrupt.

Yet what I like most about Le Carré is the way he tells his tale. He takes his time. He uses complex sentences. He moves the reader effortlessly backwards and forwards along the timeline and he perfectly evokes a sense of place, whether it is a Cornish Fair, a Private Club or the corridors and conference rooms of the FCO.

Here's a sample of that prose from the start of Chapter Two, where we are introduced to Toby Bell, the man around whom most of the story centres. It's a slightly long extract but that is necessary to demonstrate how he evokes the man and his situation. If you like this, you'll like the book.

"On a sunny Sunday, early in that same spring, a thirty-one-year-old British Foreign servant, earmarked for great things, sat alone at the pavement table of a humble Italian café in London's Soho, steeling himself to perform an act of espionage so outrageous that, if detected, it would cost him his career and his freedom. Namely, recovering a tape-recording elicitly made by himself from the private office of a Minister of the Crown whom it was his duty to serve and advise to the best of his considerable ability.

His name was Tony Bell and he was entirely alone in his criminal contemplations. No evil genius controlled him. No paymaster provocateur or sinister manipulator armed with an attaché case stuffed with hundred dollar bills was waiting around the corner. No activist in a ski mask. He was, in that sense the most feared creature of our contemporary world: a solitary decider. of a forthcoming clandestine operation on the Crown Colony of Gibraltar, he knew nothing. Rather it was this tantalising ignorance that had brought him to his present pass.

Neither was he in appearance or by nature cut out to be a felon. Even now, premeditating his criminal design, he remained the decent, diligent, tousled, compulsively ambitious, intelligent-looking fellow, that his colleagues and employers took him for. He was stocky in build. Not particularly handsome with a shock of unruly brown hair that went haywire as soon as it was brushed. That there was gravitas in him was undeniable. The gifted, State educated only child of pious artisan parents from the South coast of England who knew no politics but Labour..."
One of the joys of the book, for me, was Le Carré's narration. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear him read the start of Chapter One.

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/894..." params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /] (less)
1 ääni MikeFinnFiction | Sep 28, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 61) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (3 mahdollista)

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John le Carréensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Van Moppes, RobKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out. – Oscar Wilde
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For VJC

No winter shall abate the spring's increase – Donne
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
On the second floor of a characterless hotel in the British Crown Colony of Gibraltar, a lithe, agile man in his late fifties restlessly paced his room.
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(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far-right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it. Cornwall, UK, 2011. A disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be--or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? Summoned by Sir Christopher ("Kit") Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely observed by Kit's beautiful daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary to the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, how can he keep silent?

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