September 2nd, 2014

I Want to Believe

Beware of John le Carré!

Note to self: do not ever believe that a book by John le Carré will end well for the hero.

Yes, I was optimistic when I began listening to “The Mission Song” ( The disturbing hints begin to come. The protagonist was writing about the events of the book after the fact, from an undisclosed location. I was pretty sure that meant that the hero was alive at the end of the book. This is not always the case for Le Carré's characters. What could possibly happen when a translator is sucked into an African coup plot? Yet, I had hope. All of a sudden fate struck, and the hero was doomed. How did I know? Why did I think it was only a matter of time before the big mean world swallowed the hero?

John Le Carré's books are actually pretty simple. The cynical manipulative characters are always the winners. The protagonist is doomed by one or both of the following traits:

1) Idealistic (deadly!)
2) Fallen in love (double deadly!)

Both together... well, the character might as well lay down in front of a steam roller and take their lumps. The reader / listener is dragged along for the plunge to doom. This was the case for Bruno Salvador, the hero of “The Mission Song”.

Hmmm... I wonder what John Le Carré book I will listen to next? I'm sure there is a happy happy one out there somewhere. How about “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”?
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