John le Carré, endgame

The spy who loved books

by John le Carré

Translated from English by Isabelle Perrin

Threshold, 242 p., €22

In a seaside town in Suffolk, a young thirty-something has just opened a bookstore. Former trader in the City of London, full of aces, Julian Lawndsley left everything by rejecting money but does not shine with his knowledge of literature. He only asks to learn. Precisely, an elderly man, well dressed, a Polish immigrant of mysterious appearance, a certain Edward Avon, weighed down with secrets, makes him understand that he knew his father well. An Anglican pastor who, one Sunday in the pulpit, had launched to his flock: ” God does not exist “condemning his family to live penniless.

Edward Avon asks Julian Lawndsley to do him a favor in London, to deliver envelopes to one of his old acquaintances. It is the beginning of a ballet with blurred tracks where the uninitiated wanders off and begins to be wary of this invading and elusive man… When Her Majesty’s secret services are informed that a mole is organizing leaks confidential information, a threatening investigator arrives in the small town…

A convoluted plot, characters too vague

This time, John le Carré, who died in 2020, reveals the internal betrayals of British Intelligence, the doubts, the moods, the remorse of the spies. advertised as “the culmination of a grandiose work”, this posthumous novel should only be published at the request of one of the author’s children, Nick Cornwell, also a novelist, who supervised the edition and completed certain gaps. John le Carré could not ignore that his manuscript looked more like a plot than a finished novel. A convoluted plot, characters too vague, interesting figures too quickly abandoned. Either the ingredients of a bottom of the drawer which should have remained so and above all which adds nothing to the glory, nor to the memory of the great novels of John le Carré.


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