Our Kind of Traitor (John le Carre, 2011)
My few attempts to engage the old spymaster since the Smiley days have met with disappointment. Nothing exactly wrong with Our Game or The Tailor of Panama. Just sort of meh, as if le Carre had forgotten all the qualities that set him apart from John Buchan to begin with.
I picked this up because it was touted as a comeback and, for once, the crit-illuminati wasn’t selling an entire bill of goods. There’s an intriguing set-up and a degree of Jamesian force in the ending. The degree could have been a lot higher if le Carre had also been able to recapture his old delight in post-Victorian language and mid-Victorian character development, but at this moment in literary history, I’ll take what I can get.