Review: A small town in Germany (J. Le Carré)


This is a not so well known book from John Le Carré. It is not really about spies, although the whole background is typical cold war: Western Germany in the late 60’s.
The plot revolves around the suspected defection of a German administrative clerk employed by the British Embassy in Bonn.
The ruthless style of the investigator sent by London is the main tool Le Carré uses to create an oppressive atmosphere where every single member of the embassy staff, from the chancellor down to the concierge, seems to have something to hide.
However, this small town in Germany, the old capital Bonn, is in fact a small town in Britain. Le Carré depicts the embassy as a little Britain, with her class system, her different nationalities, even her famous eccentricities.
This novel anticipates Le Carré’s later books themes: idealism vs. crude pragmatism, an unexpected hero, lost causes.
A fantastic novel where Le Carré shows extensively his ability to describe the psychology of his characters very powerfully just in a few lines.


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