Monday, January 13, 2014

Where Are All the Good Spies?

For some strange reason, I've never been much into spy stories. I've seen very few James Bond films. I've read none of Ian Fleming's novels. I'm not even overly curious about all the recent NSA news.

There have been exceptions, mostly in the movie medium. I like some of the Jack Ryan stuff, of course Alfred Hitchcock's spy-related flicks like Notorious and The 39 Steps, and anything out of Austin Powers' mouth.

So I gave a more serious, Kafka-like novel a try. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre is widely considered a gem of the genre. It's about British agent Leamus, who falls in a kind of love with a librarian while stationed in Germany. He is then tugged in various directions around Europe by shady and often unseemly characters. It does not end well for several of the players.

The bleakness and lack of character development makes the novel suffer for me, although it does a good job of placing the reader deeply into the world of what it must have been like to be a spy in the middle of the 20th century.

If anyone has any better spy recommendations, I'm willing to give a few more books or novels a shot.

**1/2 out of ***** stars

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