John le Carré’s “Our Kind of Traitor”

It’s been a while since I’ve read a le Carré so part looking forward and part dreading reading Our Kind of Traitor. Looking forward because no-one… no one writes a thriller like le Carré — I find his prose elegant and on point. Dreading because he died last year and I find it hard to return to my favourite authors once they’re gone — I find I’m very sentimental.

In John le Carré’s electrifying novel Our Kind of Traitor, innocents abroad are drawn into the darkest recesses of the financial world. 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. ‘If you want to know about the state of Britain today, forget the Booker shortlist. Just read John le Carré’s latest thriller’ Evening Standard ‘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’ Sunday Times

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