Brand : John le Carré

The Tailor of Panama

Richard middleton |

Hint - it's not a spy story

Reviewers giving this book a poor rating seem disappointed that it is not a spy story with a fast-moving plot, or dismiss it as a poor pastiche of graham greene. but surely le carre - creator of the inimitable george smiley, the least bond-like of spies - did not set out to write a novel about espionage, but rather about our ability to delude ourselves that what we wish to be true can, with a little effort and creative embroidery of the facts, become at least a serviceable replica of the truth. (reviewers expressing incredulity that british senior spooks and press magnates could wittingly or unwittingly lend themselves to this sort of deception might perhaps consult "fiasco" or other books about the american neo-cons' self-interest or self-delusion leading directly to the invasion of iraq, although personally i find le carre's characters much more attractive than the real-life cheney or wolfowitz.) as for the debt to "our man in havana", le carre freely acknowledges that this was what started him thinking - but greene, even at his inspired best, never produced anything to match the sustained brilliance of east-ender harry pendel's "fluence", a magnificent portrayal of someone who invented himself with catastrophic consequences to himself and all around him. forget preconceptions, forget that this is "another in the series of le carre's spy stories", just read it for pure enjoyment.

Gobirds2 |

Intriguing subtle spy film and great performances

I enjoyed this movie immensely. i found it to be very interesting. geoffrey rush is very charismatic and rather incomparable in his performance as the tailor of panama. this film was made as one of brosnan's non-bond films during his tenure as 007 and he expertly plays his british intelligence part convincingly, very realistically and then some with no hint of the cinematic james bond entrapping. the plot is intriguing as brosnan plants innuendo and false information through the connected geoffrey rush to accomplish his mission. boorman gives us great character studies which are the foundation of this little gem of a film. this is a long overdue film of substance from director john boorman, the man who gave us excalibur (1981) and point blank (1967) and deliverance (1972). this is one of pierce brosnan's best films.

Donald mitchell |

Le carre does our man in havana

If you read and liked graham greene's our man in havana, i predict you will like the tailor of panama. the books have many similarities, especially in their satirical treatment of the spying establishment and those who serve it. if you have not read our man in havana, be aware that this book is not at all like any other le carre spy book you have read before. so if you are looking for another of his great reads in the genre of the spy who came in from the cold, the looking glass war, a small town in germany, tinker tailor solider spy, the honourable schoolboy and smiley's people, this is the wrong book for you. on the other hand, if you are open-minded enough to wonder what le carre's idea of humor would like in making fun of spies, spying, and spy novels, then you have come to the right place. this is one of the two great satires of this sort. our man in havana is the other. i recommend them both, when you are in the mood for that kind of a story. as i read this book, i was constantly reminded of stories that often surface in the newspaper about spies who have been working both sides against the middle to improve their incomes. i am sure that these stories were an indirect inspiration for this novel. in a broader sense, the satire here is really about the foibles we all have. if you have an easy time laughing at yourself, you may find moments when you see yourself in the mirror through le carre's fine novel.