George Smiley was the greatest spy in the world and that is the hill I will die on.
With that being said, I don’t at all hide how much I have always loved and adored the works of the incomparable John Le Carré. He was a brilliant story teller with such human narratives rich with political intrigue and Silverview is no different.
The final novel of Le Carré’s was published posthumously and is a quiet novel of what happens within the world of espionage when one gets, well, old. Where do the lives of these people end up when they are no longer of value to Queen and Country within the service? Where do they take their secrets? Does one ever really stop being a spy?
I found myself switching back and forth between reading the physical book while also listening to Tobey Jones perform the audiobook (of which he did an amazing job, I might add) and truly felt cozy within the narrative. Though I had to re-read parts due to my limited knowledge of more modern politics – read as: politics outside of The Cold War – I still came to care for the characters and sad for their situations. It’s a difficult book for me to review because it feels like such a character study rather than Le Carré’s other novels which tend to usually involve at least a little bit of action. But in a way, that’s why I think I liked this one. It was different and yet familiar, packing the same punch that his other novels do in their endings with endings resolved but not exactly “happily”.
If you’re a fan of Le Carré, I highly recommend both book and audio for Silverview. If you’re new to the late, great man’s work, I do suggest looking into his Smiley series. They’re a great place to start.