Our Kind of Traitor

John le Carré

Our Kind of Traitor

Britain is in the depths of recession. A left-leaning young Oxford academic and his barrister girlfriend take an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis. What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain's Intelligence Establishment. 3.5 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
Our Kind of Traitor

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Format Hardback
Pages 320
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication September 2010
ISBN 978-0670919017
Publisher Viking
 

Britain is in the depths of recession. A left-leaning young Oxford academic and his barrister girlfriend take an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis. What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain's Intelligence Establishment.

Read an extract, courtesy of The Telegraph

Reviews

The Sunday Times

John Dugdale

Few recent plays have had dialogue as good, and few recent literary novels can boast a set of characters so vividly imagined. Our Kind of Traitor is a teasing, beguiling, masterly performance, marred only by the author’s penchant for endings that (both in what happens and who’s responsible) can be predictable.

12/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Henning Mankell

...a remarkable book by the master who will not give up... John le Carré’s fury and his ability to put into words a story about our world are sharp. But he does it in a subtle and intimate way. His intention, perhaps, is to make us slow down, so that we can and will reflect upon what he has to say.

24/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Times

Peter Millar

It is depth of character, more than convolutions of plot or pace of action, that sucks you into the creepily familiar world of le Carré’s creations: dodgy, charming, all-too-human oddballs with a twinkle in the eye, a ready smile and a dagger in the hand that slaps you on the back... The new le Carré is the old le Carré at his best.

11/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Evening Standard

David Sexton

Enormously enjoyable… This is a lovely late book from a master.

02/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Hugh Carnegy

Our Kind of Traitor suffers from a faltering start in which Perry and Gail at first seem unconvincing and unengaging. But it soon unfolds, in customary le Carré style, with a growing sense of foreboding to a dark climax.

17/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Independent on Sunday

Doug Johstone

The notion that colossal amounts of illegitimate money from black-market sources have kept the banking world afloat in recent years should perhaps not be surprising, but it's still shocking to see it laid bare… Le Carré's disgust at the world he depicts is clear – something which has real impact despite his novel's occasional flaws.

26/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Observer

Tim Adams

Though at times, in the plotting of this novel, le Carré appears to be writing from muscle memory, he sketches the courtship by which Makepiece is seduced into "doing his duty" for his country with typical deftness.

26/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Sunday Telegraph

James Naughtie

The guts of the tale lies in the encounters between the spies and the innocents, as so often with le Carré, and when that relationship begins in earnest, Our Kind of Traitor is on an uplifting and pleasingly-familiar course, though it is one that confirms the depths of the author’s discomfort and anger at the world.

12/09/2010

Read Full Review


Times Literary Supplement

Sean O'Brien

Even by Le Carré’s standards, Our Kind of Traitor is sternly pessimistic ... But such is Le Carré’s control of tension through minimal but richly menacing action that the reader is compelled to see the thing through, on the off chance that the efforts of Hector’s group will be rewarded – and that there will turn out to be more at stake than money.

15/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Spectator

Andrew Taylor

His themes are nothing if not topical. He is a skilled observer of how people interact. For all that, the novel belongs on le Carré’s B-list. Though Dima and his entourage are both poignant and surprisingly funny, Perry and Gail are a little too glossy to be sympathetic or even believable ... Nor is the narrative as smooth and streamlined as it might be

18/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Christopher Tayler

The intelligence operation and the bureaucratic tussles are, as usual, spiritedly done, but the plotting often conveys the feeling of a writer going through the motions. By this stage of his career, Le Carré seems more interested in the telling than the tale, and in the actors more than in their actions. But his deft setting up of colourful characters, and slightly less deft meshing of psychology and plot requirements, doesn't always make for narrative tension.

11/09/2010

Read Full Review


The Independent

Boyd Tonkin

Two of the closed worlds here throb with passion and vitality: Dima's vory fraternity, with its fealties and feuds, and the "Service" itself, torn as ever between "fair-play English gentlemen" and "perfidious Albion shits". Yet Le Carré fumbles with the City end of the vast laundry operation. Cartoon villains and broad brush-strokes suffice for him here. Next time, he should focus the lens of his righteous wrath more closely on the belly of the beast.

10/09/2010

Read Full Review


The New Statesman

Leo Robson

Le Carré helped to promote genre writing into a species of literature; writing of this kind risks reversing the process… But even when le Carré fails to provide so many of the pleasures that are within his reach as a thriller writer and conjectural historian, he retains the power to make us feel like insiders in a previously remote and whispered-about world.

21/09/2010

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore