((Note: The first part of this was written before Margaret's missive appeared...))
As usual we've waited the requisite two years or so for jlc to come out with a new book, and finally it has arrived. And in the two weeks since its release, I've been waiting for my email to be flooded with lacarre@yahoogroups. But alas, nothing except links to a few reviews.
What's the matter, folks? I suspect some people are still in a funk over the anti-Americanism/anti-imperialism in Absolute Friends (which was actually a pretty good book). Unfortunately, it was followed by the disappointing Mission Song which never did work for me. Then there was the far more superior (though oddly, still not quite up to snuff) Most Wanted Man. However as I've said before, these may not be the best he's done, but they still beat hell out of 99.9% of what's out there.
Well, boys and girls, he's back. He's still angry (thank God) and still somewhat polemical, but he has eschewed the preachiness of Absolute Friends, (which I feel detracted from an otherwise great story, superbly done). And now we have OKOT, which will probably turn out to be his most popular novel since The Constant Gardner. (I see major movie written all over this one ala Panama or Gardner.)
Back is the lyrical, looping,somewhat oblique style that first manifested itself in TTSS, which informed us that here was a guy who wasn't just another spy novelist wannabe. Back is the pitch-perfect, beautiful (and I'll say it again) almost lyrical ear for dialogue that is such a pleasure to read. And, back is his dark, rather jaundiced view of our post 9/11 world, as if his view of the pre-9/11 world wasn't.
"Bloody Bill" Haydon (remember him?) said "that secret services were the only real measure of a nation's political health, the only real expression of his subconscious." If that's true, we are in real trouble if jlc's depiction of Britain's secret world is any indication. He hasn't had much good to say about America's secret services either.
Of course, there are those of us (myself included), who still pine for the days when old George toddled about London, lost and somewhat forlorn, but we must realize: He would be well over 100 by now.
And while we're (kinda) on the subject: Does anyone out there really think a two-hour movie can do justice to TTSS and still be coherent? It will be very interesting to see...
So, what do you think?
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