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Absolute Friends

by John Le Carre

Absolute Friends
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2004, 464 pages

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jim (09/24/09)

Absolute Friends
Much of this book is quite good, some of it moving, but it falters badly in the closing chapters. The two old friends, veteran spies and double agents during the Cold War, are finally caught up in a scheme that makes little sense on its face, that of course isn't what it seems, and which both of them are experienced enough to see through from the first. The book's climax fails; it deserved a more plausible ending.
Ian S Baker (08/04/08)

absolute friends - absolutely wonderful
A book that can be enjoyed on several levels, as ever with Le Carre, from the quality of the prose, & the depth of the characters, to the complexity of the plot; and yet, unusually for Le Carre, a thinly veiled personal political statement on contemporary international affairs using the world he knows and writes about so authoritatively, espionage, to tell a tale and also to clearly send his message. Whether one does or doesn't agree with the author's blast at what he sees as the American and British governments' propaganda and imperialism, one cannot help but enjoy the story and feel some empathy with the lead player in the drama Ted Mundy, and despite a "Hollywood" style conclusion, recent real life events make it resonate with authenticity; maybe Mundy's life and character are just a tad overdone, but if that comment is nitpicking it's only because the work is of such outstanding quality that one feels forced to find a flaw, however difficult, to give a review some balance.
Joshua Lim (06/01/06)

Absolute Friends
a deep read...was confusing as there are lots of reference to 60s' Europe events and leaders...but after reading it with constant reference with the help of internet...it was great learning...! good storyline..and very entertaining writings by the author...!
L. MacLearn (10/06/05)

One of Le Carre's best -- Elegant, vitriolic, masterful
Year ago, my parents loaned me a copy of "Smiley's People", and I was immediately hooked by the elegance of the authors phrasing, the sizzling irony, and the multi-timbral intent that I later came to associate with all his work. In Le Carre's world, no motivation is too base, no good deed ever unpunishable.

Absolute friends opens a window on the struggle de jour -- rampant islamic fundamentalism, against the hegemonistic empire of the secular western infidel, as suffered by an altruistic dreamer and his ideologue friend who are caught directly in the middle. This cautionary tale spans three decades of intrigue, and draws to an exorable climax in which the altruist and apostate become indestinguishable, and no safe ground exists upon which to separate them.
Niklas Törnlund (02/08/04)

Inspired and inspiring; his strongest in years. As usual with le Carré, I found myself reading passages out half-loud to myself. The plot is focused and the historical and geographical span wide enough to harbour two or three standard novels

of the genre. A painfully dark satirical thriller of the world beyond "the end of history".
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