Novel of the week: Silverview by John le Carré
John le Carré’s ‘last complete masterwork’ makes for a ‘very fine finale’
John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images
The appearance of what is billed as John le Carré’s “last complete masterwork”, less than a year after his death, “seems almost suspiciously opportune”, said Andrew Rosenheim in The Spectator. Yet whatever the publishing expediency involved, Silverview makes for a “very fine finale”.
Set in an East Anglian coastal town, it centres on Julian, a 33-year-old bachelor who has “fled the City” and now runs a bookshop. One evening, an “exotic foreigner” called Edward comes in, claiming to have been a friend of Julian’s late father. Soon afterwards, an MI5 agent shows up, asking questions about Edward – who is clearly not what he seems.
“Thematically, this is classic le Carré,” said Jake Kerridge in The Daily Telegraph: an exploration of betrayal and moral expediency, written in “unshowily superb” prose.
There’s certainly little here we haven’t seen before in “late-period le Carré”, said Dominic Sandbrook in The Sunday Times. Still, “perhaps it’s the privilege of a great writer to repeat himself”. And aficionados will enjoy “seeing the old formula given one last runout”.
Viking 224pp £20; The Week Bookshop £15.99
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